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Endometrial Ablation

Endometrial ablation is an outpatient surgery that can reduce or stop heavy menstrual bleeding. Ablation destroys the lining of the uterus. This surgery is for women who don't want to have any more children and who have not yet started menopause. It should not be used by women with endometrial hyperplasia or uterine cancer. Surgery takes less than an hour, and you can go home later that day.

Getting ready for surgery

  • You may be given medicine by mouth or injection for a few weeks or months before your surgery. This thins the lining of the uterus and reduces bleeding.

  • Your healthcare provider may advise other procedures to check the inside of your uterus before the ablation is done. 

  • The day before surgery, you may be given medicine. Or a special substance (laminaria) may be put into the opening to the uterus (the cervix). This widens the opening.

  • To help prevent problems with anesthesia, follow any directions you are given for not eating or drinking before the surgery.

Your surgery

Image of surgery
Destroying the lining with heat, freezing, or electric current prevents the lining from growing back.

View of lining

  • You’ll be given anesthesia so you stay comfortable and relaxed. You won't feel pain during surgery.

  • Your uterus may be filled with fluid. This puts pressure on the lining to help reduce bleeding. It also allows your healthcare provider to see inside your uterus.

  • Your healthcare provider puts a small telescope-like tool through the cervix. This scope may be connected to a video screen. This helps your healthcare provider see and control the ablation process. At the end of the scope, a device using heat, extreme cold, or electric current destroys the uterine lining. Instead of the scope, your provider may use another device that both expands and destroys the uterine lining. After being inserted into your uterus, it also uses heat or other energy to destroy the lining. Your provider will choose the device that’s best for you.

Your recovery

  • You may have cramping or aching in your belly (abdomen) after surgery. Your healthcare provider can give you pain medicine.

  • You may also have a bloody or watery discharge or bleeding for days or weeks. Use sanitary pads, not tampons.

  • Don’t have sex or play active sports for 2 weeks after surgery.

  • You can likely return to work in 2 days.

  • Ask your healthcare provider about using contraception after an ablation.

  • Your provider will see you in about 6 weeks to check how well you are healing.

When to call your healthcare provider

Call your healthcare provider if you have any of the following after surgery:

  • Chills

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider

  • Frequent urination for 24 hours

  • Heavy vaginal bleeding

  • Nausea

  • Lasting or increased belly pain

  • Shortness of breath

Online Medical Reviewer: Donna Freeborn PhD CNM FNP
Online Medical Reviewer: Irina Burd MD PhD
Online Medical Reviewer: Louise Cunningham RN BSN
Date Last Reviewed: 5/1/2020
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