Hysteroscopy is an surgical procedure in which a small telescope (the size of a pencil) is used to inspect the inside of the uterus. A camera is attached to the end of the telescope and the image is viewed on a video monitor. Surgery is carried out while looking at this monitor. This is what the telescope looks like and it is inserted thru "sheaths" of different sizes.
Diagnostic hysteroscopy can be performed with a smaller instrument. This procedure is generally shorter and can be done under mild sedation or short general anaesthesia for better comfort The procedure is quick and inexpensive.
Operative hysteroscopy is performed under general anaesthesia. This will allow the physician to both diagnose and treat most findings, which are encountered at the time of the procedure.
The Operative Hysteroscope has ports, which allow the physician to insert operating tools, such as, scissors, cautery devices or a laser fiber. These may be used to resect or cauterize specific abnormalities under direct visualization. The hysteroscope is also valuable in treating some forms of tubal occlusion. Many patients with a blockage in the fallopian tube may have an obstruction at the junction between the uterus and fallopian tube. The Hysteroscope is used to pass a small catheter through this contracted area under direct visualization. Occasionally, scar tissue can be disrupted and allow passage of sperm as the result of the procedure.
A physician will be able to evaluate the cervical canal, the contour of the uterus, and the quality of the endometrial lining. The tubal ostia are the openings of the fallopian tube into the uterine cavity. They should be easily seen with the hysteroscope.
After Your Hysteroscopy
Complications are infrequent from hysteroscopy. Some patients may experience mild cramping. This usually is the result of the need to dilate the cervix for insertion of the scope. In general, patients are able to return to their normal activity level in 1-2 days after surgery.
The possible risks of hysteroscopy include bleeding, infection and uterine perforation. Fortunately, these risks are infrequent. Occasionally, your physician will utilize a simultaneous Laparoscopy to aid in the prevention of uterine perforation if extensive hysteroscopy surgery is planned.
Advantages of a hysteroscopy over a plain D&C
Nowadays a D&C should NEVER be done alone. It is always combined with a procedure known as a hysteroscopy. This is because it is conclusively proven that a D&C [which is really a "blind" procedure] even in the best of hands gets only about 50% of the lining of the uterus while there may be a disease in the remaining portion which has been missed.
A hysteroscopy allows the gynaecologist to view the inside of the uterus and take a biopsy from the area which is worst affected and to localize the area and extent of the disease too.