What Does an Outpatient Hysteroscopy Entail?

When performing an outpatient hysteroscopy, a doctor inserts a thin tube called a hysteroscope through the vagina to examine the cervix and uterus using a local anesthetic or no anesthetic, explains Johns Hopkins Medicine. The procedure may be performed in a doctor’s office or in an outpatient center and is often used to remove uterine scarring, polyps or fibroids, to obtain a tissue biopsy, or to extract an intrauterine device.

A woman undergoing a hysteroscopy lies on her back on an operating table with her feet in stirrups, often with an intravenous line in her hand, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Her cervix may be dilated, allowing her doctor to more easily pass the lighted, flexible hysteroscope through her cervix and into the uterus. The doctor expands the uterus with a gas or liquid injected through the hysteroscope and then exams it, often using a video or photographic camera. Tools are passed through the hysterocsope to remove growths or take tissue samples.

If general anesthesia or a sedative is used, the doctor monitors the woman’s vital signs and breathing until she is stable enough to go home, explains Johns Hopkins Medicine. The woman may experience pain and gas in her intestines, upper abdomen and shoulder region from the gas administered during the procedure. Cramping and light vaginal bleeding are common for the next 48 hours. Most doctors caution against intercourse and douching for two weeks post-procedure, but women typically return to normal activities immediately.