Dilation and Curettage, commonly known as D&C, is a surgical procedure that gynecologists often perform for a variety of medical reasons. This surgical method involves the dilation of the cervix, which is the lower, narrow part of the uterus, followed by the scraping or suctioning of the uterine lining. The procedure is relatively short, typically lasting less than an hour, and is usually carried out in a hospital or clinic setting.
Patients may undergo a D&C for several reasons. It serves both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. For diagnostic purposes, it helps in diagnosing conditions such as uterine cancer or abnormal uterine bleeding. In therapeutic contexts, D&C is used to treat cases like missed or incomplete miscarriages, where it aids in removing tissue, or postpartum hemorrhage, to remove placental remnants that can cause bleeding after childbirth. It’s also a treatment option for abnormal uterine bleeding by removing part of the lining of the uterus.
The D&C procedure involves two main steps. The first step, dilation, entails gently widening the cervix using small instruments known as dilators. The second step, curettage, uses a curette—a spoon-shaped instrument—or a suction device to remove tissue from the uterine lining. Anesthesia is typically required for a D&C, and the type used—local, regional, or general—depends on various factors.
Before undergoing a D&C, patients have a physical examination with one of our gynecologists. Your doctor may order blood tests or imaging studies like an ultrasound to prepare for the procedure. Patients are advised on dietary restrictions and may need to pause certain medications temporarily.
Recovery from a D&C is generally quick. Patients might experience some cramping and light bleeding for a few days following the procedure. Most are able to return to normal activities within a day or two. However, specific guidelines on recovery and resuming activities, including sexual intercourse, are provided by the doctor.
Like any surgical procedure, D&C carries some risks, though it is generally considered safe. These risks may include infection, heavy bleeding, perforation of the uterus, and scarring of the uterus. These potential complications are discussed with the patient before the procedure, and doctors monitor the recovery to manage any issues that might arise.
Dilation and Curettage is a common and generally safe procedure used to diagnose and treat various conditions of the uterus. Understanding the procedure, its purposes, and what to expect can help patients feel more at ease. For more detailed information on D&C, patients are encouraged to consult trusted resources like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists or the Mayo Clinic, and to always seek personalized advice and treatment from their gynecologist at Lyndhurst Gynecologic Associates.
Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/dilation-and-curettage/about/pac-20384910