Uterine ablation, or endometrial ablation, is used to treat unusual uterine bleeding caused by a benign condition, states Mayo Clinic. It involves the surgical destruction of the uterine lining, known as the endometrium. Endometrial ablation is recommended for women who experience abnormally heavy menstrual periods and menstrual bleeding that lasts for more than eight days. Women who suffer from anemia due to extreme blood loss may also benefit from uterine ablation.
Endometrial ablation is a minimally invasive procedure and can be performed in a doctor's office or an outpatient facility, notes WebMD. The procedure usually lasts for 45 minutes. It is typically performed using local or spinal anesthesia, but some ablation methods may require general anesthesia.
During an endometrial ablation, the cervix is dilated to allow for the passage of the surgical instruments used to remove the uterine lining, explains Mayo Clinic. The endometrium may be removed through electrosurgery, radiofrequency ablation, cryoablation or microwave ablation. A heated balloon device and free-flowing hot fluid may also be used to destroy the endometrium, says Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Uterine ablation is contraindicated for women with uterine, endometrial or cervical cancer. It is also not suitable for women who have recently been pregnant or have undergone a surgery for uterine fibroids. Women who suffer from pelvic inflammatory disease and vaginal or cervical infections are likewise advised against undergoing endometrial ablation.