How Does a Thermal Endometrial Ablation Work?

A thermal endometrial ablation works by using heat to destroy the lining of the uterus, or endometrium, explains WebMD. The heat can be generated either by radiofrequency, through normal heated saline, or through a balloon filled with heated saline. The scar tissue left by the procedure stops or at least reduces the abnormal bleeding of the endometrium.

Before the procedure, a woman has an endometrial biopsy, says MedicineNet. This tells her physician if she has fibroids or polyps that may be the cause of her bleeding. The physician can remove these abnormalities without having to use ablation on the entire lining of the uterus. The examination also lets the physician know if the woman is pregnant or if she is using a contraceptive device such as an IUD. Such devices need to be removed before an ablation.

The doctor also prescribes hormones for the patient before the procedure, states MedicineNet. These hormones help to shrink the endometrium. The success rate of the ablation increases if the endometrium is thin. A physician performs thermal endometrial ablation in her office or in an outpatient clinic, notes WebMD. The treatment takes up to 45 minutes. The physician first gives the patient a local, spinal or general anesthesia. Most women who have the procedure see a reduction or cessation of abnormal bleeding.