Dilation and Curettage (D&C) 

Dilation and curettage (D&C) is a fairly common, minor surgical procedure.  D&Cs are used to remove the lining of the uterus.  A D&C may be performed to obtain tissue samples to diagnose a condition, treat irregular or heavy bleeding, remove fetal and placental tissue following a miscarriage, and as an infrequently used abortion method.  D&Cs are usually outpatient procedures and are associated with a short recovery time.
A D&C may be recommended for several conditions including bleeding between periods, heavy menstrual flow, postmenopausal bleeding, or abnormal bleeding while taking hormone replacement therapy.  It may be used to treat the uterine lining growth from polycystic ovary syndrome.  A D&C is used to remove endometrial polyps and precancerous cells.  Following a miscarriage or “missed” miscarriage, a D&C is used to remove fetal and placental tissue.

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A D&C is usually performed as a short outpatient procedure at a surgical center or hospital.  You may receive general or local anesthesia.  You should arrange to have someone else drive you home following your surgery.
For the procedure, you will lie on your back on an exam table.  Your feet will be placed in stirrups to position your pelvis.  Your doctor will gently insert a speculum to open the walls of your vagina.  Another device is used to open and widen your cervix to allow your doctor to access your uterus.  You doctor will insert the curette through your vagina, cervix, and into your uterus.  A curette is a long thin instrument with a loop on the end.  Your doctor will used the curette to remove the inner lining of your uterus and collect the tissue for examination.
You may resume your regular activities usually within a day or two of your procedure.  You may experience cramps, back pain, and bleeding for a few days.  Your doctor will recommend or prescribe pain medication.  Your doctor will provide you with specific instructions and restrictions following your D&C.

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This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.

The iHealthSpot patient education library was written collaboratively by the iHealthSpot editorial team which includes Senior Medical Authors Dr. Mary Car-Blanchard, OTD/OTR/L and Valerie K. Clark, and the following editorial advisors: Steve Meadows, MD, Ernie F. Soto, DDS, Ronald J. Glatzer, MD, Jonathan Rosenberg, MD, Christopher M. Nolte, MD, David Applebaum, MD, Jonathan M. Tarrash, MD, and Paula Soto, RN/BSN. This content complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information. The library commenced development on September 1, 2005 with the latest update/addition on April 13th, 2016. For information on iHealthSpot’s other services including medical website design, visit www.iHealthSpot.com.