D&C may also serve as a treatment for specific conditions. Gynecologists may perform a D&C to remove remaining tissue following a miscarriage or to treat heavy or prolonged vaginal bleeding that has not responded to other treatment.
Some OBGYNs perform dilation and curettage in the office, but it may also be done in a hospital or surgery center. In some women, it may be necessary to dilate the cervix over several hours prior to D&C. Medication may also be given to soften the cervix for dilation.
Prior to the procedure, general, regional or local anesthesia is administered and the legs are placed in stirrups. A speculum is then inserted into the vagina and rods of graduated sizes are passed slowly through the opening of the cervix to dilate it and provide access into the uterus. Suction or a curette instrument is then used to remove tissue from the uterine lining to be sent for microscopic examination
Dilation and curettage is a common procedure and complications are rare. Following D&C, most patients are monitored for excessive bleeding until anesthesia wears off. Once the initial recovery period is complete, your OBGYN will likely recommend you wait 24 to 48 hours before resuming normal activities. Spotting and light bleeding is normal, but you should report any heavy bleeding, fever, or abdominal pain to your gynecologist.
Until the cervix returns to normal following D&C, vaginal bacteria can more easily enter the uterus, increasing the risk for uterine infection. For this reason, it is important to avoid sexual intercourse and refrain from tampon use until cleared by your OBGYN.