Dilation and Curettage

Dilation is a procedure to open and widen the cervix. The cervix is the entrance to the uterus. Curettage is the removal of the lining of the uterus by scraping. The lining is known as the endometrium. The two procedures are done together and are often referred to as a D&C.

  • Call Your Doctor

    After arriving home, contact your doctor if any of the following occur:

    • Signs of infection, including fever and chills, increasing pain, or foul-smelling vaginal discharge
    • Nausea or vomiting that does not stop
    • Abdominal pain
    • Vaginal bleeding that is saturating more than one sanitary pad per hour
    • Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain

    In case of an emergency, call for medical help right away.

  • Definition

    Dilation is a procedure to open and widen the cervix. The cervix is the entrance to the uterus. Curettage is the removal of the lining of the uterus by scraping. The lining is known as the endometrium. The two procedures are done together and are often referred to as a D&C.

    Dilation and Curettage
    dilation and curretage
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

  • What to Expect

  • Reasons for Procedure

    A D&C is usually done to determine what condition is causing abnormal bleeding. Some conditions that may cause abnormal bleeding are:

    • Miscarriage
    • Hormone imbalances
    • Endometrial polyps
    • Abnormal endometrial thickening
    • Endometrial cancer

    Sometimes a D&C is done to stop the bleeding, rather than to diagnose why you are bleeding. For example, this procedure may be done to remove products of conception (eg, tissue from the fetus or placenta) or to treat bleeding that has not responded to other methods.

    A D&C is not done if you have an infection (eg, affecting the uterus or fallopian tubes).

  • Possible Complications

    Complications are rare. But no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have a D&C, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, such as:

    • Complications related to anesthesia
    • Injury to the cervix
    • Scarring of endometrium
    • Infection of the uterus or fallopian tubes
    • Uterine perforation (hole in the uterus)
    • Bleeding
    • Damage to other organs in the abdomen
    • Need for additional surgery

    • Possible need to remove the uterus (
      hysterectomy
      )

    Factors that may increase the risk of complications include having a pre-existing infection or condition.