Uterine ablation, also known as endometrial ablation, provides an alternative to women who might otherwise need to undergo hysterectomies to control excessive vaginal bleeding, reports WebMD. However, possible risks include punctures or burns in the uterus, damage to nearby organs and tearing of the uterus opening. Women who want to get pregnant should not have endometrial ablations, and premenopausal women who undergo the procedure still need to use birth control, as pregnancy after treatment may cause severe problems.
Although doctors first prescribe intrauterine devices or medications to control excessively heavy periods, if these methods don't work, they sometimes suggest endometrial ablation, notes Mayo Clinic. The procedure does not involve incisions. In one method, doctors place a latex balloon in the uterus and fill it with hot liquid, explains the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Using a method called bipolar radiofrequency, doctors use a thin wand to disburse waves of energy into the uterus. Cryoablation involves freezing the endometrium to destroy it.
Because endometrial ablation damages the uterus lining, pregnancies after the procedure endanger both mother and child and may result in miscarriage, according to Mayo Clinic. There is also a greater risk of ectopic pregnancy in the cervix or fallopian tubes. Depending on the method doctors use, they may perform endometrial ablations at their offices or in operating rooms.