The prospect of undergoing reproductive surgery can be frightening for many patients. Fortunately, innovations in surgical instruments and techniques have made most surgical procedures minimally invasive and much more comfortable. Additionally, newer procedures are significantly less likely to lead to complications than their earlier operating-room counterparts. They also require less downtime and are considerably shorter. Interventions like hysteroscopy can be performed in as little as five minutes.
Numerous fertility challenges in women can be effectively diagnosed and treated using hysteroscopy. This procedure uses a long, thin, hollow device called a hysteroscope to inspect the uterine opening (cervix), the interior of the uterus, and the opening of the fallopian tubes. The hysteroscope is inserted using a transcervical approach through the vaginal canal. The tool has a light and camera at the tip, allowing the doctor to view the uterus on a monitor.
Laparoscopy also uses a minimally invasive technique for viewing the reproductive apparatus. However, a laparoscopic approach is used to survey the exterior of the uterus. Moreover, laparoscopic tools are inserted through a keyhole incision in the abdomen, not the vaginal opening. Very often, laparoscopy and hysteroscopy are used together to achieve a comprehensive assessment of reproductive health.
When is Hysteroscopy Used?
There are two types of hysteroscopies: diagnostic hysteroscopy and operative hysteroscopy.
When hysteroscopy is used to identify the causes of infertility or multiple miscarriages, the procedure is considered diagnostic. Diagnostic hysteroscopy is recommended when the patient experiences Pap test anomalies, bleeding post-menopause, or other symptoms of reproductive irregularities.
If correctable anomalies are detected, the physician may elect to perform operative hysteroscopy. The hysteroscope tool can be used to correct some uterine abnormalities during the original diagnostic procedure. This is achieved by inserting surgical instruments through the scope channels. Medical issues commonly addressed during hysteroscopy include:
Hysteroscopy is also used to remove intrauterine devices (IUDs) when they migrate or if other complications arise.
Diagnostic hysteroscopy typically only requires the administration of local anesthesia. Operative hysteroscopy, when performed in an operating room, may require general anesthesia.
There are two types of hysteroscopes: flexible and rigid. A flexible hysteroscope is typically used during in-office procedures. The tool’s flexibility allows the physician to navigate irregularities effectively to achieve a full view. Flexible hysteroscopes are often used when an irregular uterine shape is suspected or if there are indications of intrauterine lesions.
Rigid hysteroscopes are most often used in operating room settings. Their rigidity allows for better accommodation of a wide range of larger surgical tools.
What are the Benefits of Hysteroscopy?
As a minimally invasive procedure, hysteroscopy benefits patients by requiring either very short hospital stays or no hospital stays at all. The recovery time post-procedure is also shorter than it is for more invasive surgical interventions. Most patients report minimal discomfort post-operation, reducing or eliminating the need for prescription pain medications.
Is Hysteroscopy Right for Me?
If you suspect a medical impediment to pregnancy, the team at PRC will conduct a thorough evaluation of your medical history, symptoms, and reproductive health. While hysteroscopy has allowed countless patients to achieve healthy pregnancies, your circumstances will dictate the most appropriate course of action.
At PRC, we are passionate about giving potential parents every opportunity to welcome a beautiful baby into their homes and families. Please contact the representatives at PRC to schedule an appointment today.
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