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What is a uterine ablation?

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Quick Answer

Uterine ablation is the surgical removal of the endometrium, the tissues lining the uterine wall, according to Healthgrades. Doctors use this procedure to treat unusually heavy menstrual bleeding. Unlike more invasive procedures, such as hysterectomies, uterine ablations do not require incisions or the cutting of tissues.

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Full Answer

Doctors can perform uterine ablation using heat, freezing, lasers, electricity or microwaves to destroy the tissues lining the uterus, explains MedicineNet. This procedure is only available to non-pregnant women who do not plan to become pregnant at a later date and should only be considered as a treatment option when medical and hormonal therapies have not been sufficient to control heavy menstrual bleeding.

Before having a uterine ablation, a doctor should perform a biopsy to eliminate the possibility of uterine cancer, reports MedicineNet. When heavy bleeding is the result of cancer, uterine ablation is not an effective treatment because this procedure cannot remove cancer cells that have grown into deeper layers of the uterine lining. A doctor should also perform an examination of the uterus either through direct observation with a hysteroscope or through imaging technology to exclude uterine polyps or fibroids as sources of bleeding. The surgeon can remove polyps or fibroids without the necessity of removing the entire endometrium. Doctors sometimes recommend hormone treatment to shrink the endometrium during the weeks prior to a uterine ablation.

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