Endometrial Ablation Specialist

Women's and Maternity Care Specialists

OB/GYNs & Certified Nurse Midwives located in Winter Park, FL

An endometrial ablation is a surgical procedure that is used to treat heavy periods. It is performed by permanently destroying the inner most layer of the uterus, the layer that is shed with each period. By destroying this lining, periods can become lighter or stop altogether. Ablations can be completed via many techniques including radiofrequency, freezing, heated fluid, heated fluid within a balloon, microwave energy or electrosurgery. Depending on the technique and the patient, some ablations are done in a physician’s office and some are done in the operating room under general anesthesia.

Endometrial Ablation Q & A

What happens before an endometrial ablation?

  • A healthcare provider will do a history, physical exam and lab work to help determine the cause of the heavy periods. Additionally, an ultrasound can be used to help assess the size and position of the uterus.
  • Depending on the outcome of the history, physical, and lab work, a physician may also do a hysteroscopy and endometrial biopsy to evaluate the inside of the uterus. The hysteroscopy involves placing a small camera into the uterus to visually assess the uterine lining. A biopsy takes a small sample of the lining of the uterus to make sure no abnormal cells or cancer are present as this is a contraindication to an ablation.

What happens during an endometrial ablation?

  • If the ablation is done in the office, pain control can be achieved with preoperative medications such as Valium, Vicodin, or nitrous gas.
  • A speculum will be placed into the vagina and lidocaine will be injected to block the nerves around the cervix.
  • The cervix will be gently dilated and the camera will be guided through the cervix and into the uterus. During this time saline will be injected through the camera to expand the uterus and help the physician visualize the inside of the uterus.
  • The camera will be removed and the ablation device will be guided through the cervix into the uterus and activated. The time to complete the ablation depends on the method used.

What happens after the ablation?

  • After a short recovery, the patient is allowed to go home.
  • Cramping is common for 1-2 days after the procedure. This can be managed with medication.
  • A thin, watery discharge is expected for 1-2 weeks after the procedure

What are the risks associated with an ablation?

  • Bleeding and infection are small risks any time a device or instrument is inserted into the body.
  • When the uterus is entered there is always a risk of injury or perforation. The bowel and bladder sit nearby the uterus and are at risk of injury if the uterus is perforated.
  • If heated fluid, radiofrequency or microwave energy is used there is risk of burning the vagina or vulva.
  • Because ablations work by destroying the lining of the uterus, the patient must be done with childbearing prior to having one done. Although rare, pregnancy can happen after an ablation however these pregnancies are at high risk of miscarriage and other complications therefore contraception must be used after having an ablation.