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Curettage: what is it and how to prepare

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Curettage is one of the central interventions carried out at the gynecological level. Although it is a quick and straightforward technique, some aspects and factors must be taken into account whenever you go through medical treatment of this type.

Do you know what uterine scraping is? Do you see the preparation that must be carried out before this operation? In the following FastlyHealarticle, we will explain all its peculiarities about curettage: what it is and how to prepare.

What is uterine curettage?

Curettage or uterine scraping is a simple procedure that has become popular for being used both to induce abortions and remove the contents after a spontaneous one occurs. Still, it is used in many more cases. Curettage is a technique carried out by gynecologists through which the inner walls of the uterus are scraped to extract the endometrium. This mucous layer covers it with a quick intervention, which barely takes 15 minutes.

What is curettage?

Uterine curettage or scraping is carried out in two phases, dilation and curettage:

  • Dilation: as its name indicates, it is the first phase of curettage and is based on expanding the uterine entrance so that the necessary instruments to perform the scraping can enter. The doctor introduces metal cylinders through the cervix, or cylinders that widen until they acquire an adequate measure so that the instruments can enter.
  • Curettage: also called scraping, is when the gynecologist inserts a rod into the uterus that, at one end, has a handle to be manipulated and at the other a handle that allows the uterine walls to be scraped so that the endometrium can be extracted through the cervix itself. In recent years these instruments have undergone some significant changes. For example, they have a built-in camera that allows the doctor to direct the rod with much more precision. In addition, its handle is capable of heating so that when the surface is scraped, the wounds solidify so that they do not bleed. While this process lasts, the specialist doctor keeps a speculum in the cervix. The speculum is an instrument that allows cavities or wounds to be kept open.

Why is curettage done?

Uterine curettage or scraping can be carried out for two primary purposes; take a sample of the endometrium to analyze it and determine if the patient has any disease or empty the interior of the uterus for whatever reason. Here we explain in detail the situations in which a uterine curettage can be given:

Curettage to analyze

  • Diagnose uterine cancer: although it is not the most common, uterine cancer can occur in women, especially once they have reached menopause. With the uterine scraping, what is achieved is to obtain a sample that, after being analyzed, will determine if there are traces of malignancy.
  • Prevent endometrial cancer: unlike mammography, it is not recommended that all women pass this medical test. However, it must be done to diagnose endometrial cancer early on some exceptional occasions.
  • Altered menstruations: either because menstruations are too abundant or because periods are irregular, the curettage of the endometrium can be used to analyze this issue and clarify the causes and possible remedies for these conditions.

Curettage to empty the uterus

  • After a spontaneous abortion: When a spontaneous abortion occurs, and the embryo dies during pregnancy, two options can be given; that it is expelled and there is a complete abortion or that it remains inside the uterus, what we call a missed abortion. Curettage or uterine scraping is used to remove the embryo before producing a potentially dangerous infection for the mother. It should be said that a curettage is only an option if the pregnancy has not yet exceeded three months.
  • Perform an abortion: uterine scraping is one of the options available when terminating a pregnancy in the first trimester. It is usually carried out when drug abortion is already possible for us.
  • Embedded IUD: On some occasions, the IUD may remain embedded in the uterus walls, making it impossible to remove. In these cases, a uterine scraping can remove the endometrium that holds the IUD attached.
  • Eliminate fibroids and polypspolyps and fibroids are abnormalities in the endometrium or uterine muscle that grow and cause various complications such as abortions, menstrual alterations, and sterility. In these cases, they must be removed, and curettage is the best way to do it.

Curettage to empty the uterus

How to prepare for a curettage

Curettage is not a complicated procedure, and it can be carried out in hospitals and clinics. Depending on the patient, local or general anesthesia can be administered. The fact is that no special preparation is required outside of what is done for any surgery -even if it is not surgery-:

  • Have a blood count done to analyze your general health.
  • Have a gynecological examination previously performed.
  • If you are going to receive general anesthesia, do not eat or drink for 8 hours.
  • Do not take any medicine your doctor has not prescribed the week before the intervention.

Recovery after curettage

After a uterine curettage, the woman can return to her daily activities when she feels good. She can even do it that same day if she is fit. However, it is common for women to suffer abdominal and pelvic pain even in the back during the first 24 hours. In the same way, it is common for there to be vaginal bleeding during the two weeks after the scraping.

Tips for recovery after a curettage :

  • Particular attention should be paid to women who undergo curettage after an abortion, as the emotional impact may require psychological counseling.
  • The menstrual cycle returns to an average between 2 and 6 weeks after curettage. However, you should bear in mind that ovulation may occur earlier despite vaginal bleeding during the first days, which you should consider when using birth control.
  • Do not have sex for two weeks after vaginal scraping.
  • Do not use tampons during this same time, do not bathe, use the shower.
  • Avoid doing sports and intense physical exercise.

See your doctor if:

  • After curettage, you have a fever, cramps, foul-smelling discharge, dizziness, and severe bleeding with clots.

Risks of uterine curettage

Curettage is a technique that has evolved a lot. There are seldom complications during these interventions. But any intervention, no matter how small, always has a risk. Here we explain what the possible complications of uterine curettage are:

  • Puncture of the uterus: Fortunately, with technological innovations, especially camera use, this is very rare. The punch of the uterus occurs when the rod pierces this area, something that must be solved through urgent surgery.
  • Occlusion of the uterus: Asherman’s syndrome occurs when after curettage, the surface of the uterus heals, coming into contact with each other, collapsing the uterine cavity, something that causes sterility.
  • Tear of the cervix: when the cervix is dilated too much during the intervention.
  • Infection: Although the instruments used in curettage are sterilized, germs from the vagina can pass into the uterus, causing an infection.
  • Leave tissue inside: after a curettage, all the endometrial tissue that has been scraped must be removed; otherwise, these parts will rot and become a significant source of infection.
  • Hemorrhage: it is one of the main complications that can occur. It is rarely severe since the arteries in the uterus are not very large, but it is necessary to monitor that this bleeding is not very abundant or frequent.

This article is merely informative. At FastlyHeal .com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Legrado: what is it and how to prepare, we recommend that you enter our category of Female reproductive system.

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