Endometrial ablation is a procedure to treat excessive menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia) by destroying (ablating) the lining of the uterus (endometrium).
This procedure may be recommended for premenopausal women who have completed childbearing if heavy bleeding has not responded to other treatments, as a minimally-invasive alternative to a hysterectomy.
Your physician may first use a hysteroscope to view the inside of the uterus. A hysteroscope is a lighted telescopic instrument that is inserted through the vagina, cervix, then into the uterus. If there are polyps or small fibroids, they can be treated before the ablation. Then the device that delivers the ablation (by heat, cold, or electrical stimulation) is placed into the uterine cavity through the vagina and cervix. The ablation takes one to 10 minutes depending on the type of ablation. When the procedure is complete, the tool that provided the energy source is retracted back through the cervix and removed.
How does it work?
After the lining of the uterus (endometrium) is destroyed (ablated), it heals by scarring. This scarring reduces or prevents monthly bleeding.
What to expect
Endometrial ablation is generally performed on an outpatient basis using local or general anesthesia. Most women can return to normal activity the day after surgery.
Because the ovaries and uterus remain intact, conception is still possible following an endometrial ablation. However, pregnancy after an ablation can be dangerous for both the fetus and the mother, so birth control or sterilization should be used after treatment.
Patients should talk to their doctor to learn more about the benefits and risks associated with this procedure.