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A D&C, or dilation and curettage, is a common gynecological procedure that involves the dilation (widening) of the cervix and the scraping or suctioning of the uterine lining (endometrium). D&C procedures are performed for various medical reasons. Here's an overview of D&C, including its purposes and procedure details:

Purposes of D&C:

Diagnostic

D&C can be used for diagnostic purposes to investigate various gynecological conditions, including abnormal uterine bleeding, irregular menstrual cycles, or unexplained pelvic pain. It can help in identifying the causes of these symptoms.

Treatment

D&C is used as a treatment option for certain gynecological and obstetric conditions, such as:

1. Obstetric:

  • Miscarriage: S & E may be performed to remove fetus from the uterus after a miscarriage to prevent infection or excessive bleeding.
  • Incomplete Abortion: In cases where a medication abortion or miscarriage has not expelled all fetal tissue, S & E may be used to complete the process.

2. Gynecology:

  • Endometrial Polyps: Small growths or polyps in the uterine lining can be removed during a D&C.
  • Endometrial Hyperplasia: D&C can help treat or manage this condition, which involves the overgrowth of the uterine lining.

What is expected to be performed

Preparation

Before the procedure, the patient may receive anesthesia or sedation to minimize discomfort. The patient is positioned on the examination table with their feet in stirrups, similar to a pelvic exam.

Cervical Dilation

The cervix is dilated (widened) to allow access to the uterine cavity. This can be done using dilators or medication that softens and opens the cervix.

Curettage

A curette, a spoon-shaped instrument, is inserted through the cervix into the uterine cavity. The healthcare provider carefully scrapes the uterine lining to collect tissue samples or remove any abnormal tissue.

Suction

In some cases, suction may be used instead of or in addition to curettage. This is often referred to as suction curettage or vacuum aspiration for obstetric indications.

Tissue Examination

The collected tissue samples are sent to a laboratory for examination, which can help diagnose or rule out certain conditions.

Recovery

After the procedure, the patient may be monitored for a short period and may experience some cramping or light bleeding. Recovery time is usually brief.

Anesthesia

The type of anesthesia used can vary. It may include:

  1. Local Anesthesia: Numbing medication is applied to the cervix.
  2. Regional Anesthesia: Spinal or epidural anesthesia to numb the lower body.
  3. General Anesthesia: The patient is asleep and unaware during the procedure.
Duration of Surgery

A D&C procedure typically takes 15 to 30 minutes, although it may vary depending on the purpose of the procedure and the individual patient.

Intraoperative Monitoring

Standard monitoring equipment, such as blood pressure and heart rate monitors, is used during the procedure to ensure the patient's safety.

Potential Complications

While D&C is generally considered safe, there are some potential risks, including infection, bleeding, uterine perforation, or injury to nearby structures.

Post-operative Care

Post-D&C care may involve resting, refraining from sexual activity for a period of time, and taking any prescribed medications. Follow-up appointments may be necessary to discuss the results of the tissue examination and further treatment if needed.

D&C is a versatile gynecological procedure used both diagnostically and therapeutically, and its specific use depends on the individual patient's medical condition and needs. It is important to discuss the procedure, its purpose, and any potential risks or alternatives with your healthcare provider.

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