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Dilation and Curettage

Underlying Problem Requiring a Dilation and Curettage:
A dilation and curettage, commonly referred to as a D&C, is utilized when a woman needs to have the contents of the uterus removed. This is often the result of abnormal bleeding during the menstrual flow, but is also indicated when there is a buildup of tissue within the uterus. A dilation and curettage may also be called for when part of the placenta is retained after a birth or when there has been a missed or partial miscarriage.

Treatment:
A dilation and curettage is performed under heavy sedation or general anesthetic. The cervix will probably have been dilated prior to the surgery. The curette is then inserted through the cervix to scrape the uterine lining and remove any tissue. The curette itself is a metal rod with a sharp loop on the end that is used to do the scraping. Doctors must be skilled to avoid perforating the uterine wall.

In some cases, the process is still referred to as a dilation and curettage, but instead of using the metal curettage, the doctor performs vacuum aspiration to remove tissue from the uterus. In either case, the tissue will then be examined to ensure that everything has been removed, and possibly to check for causes for the underlying problem.

Recovery from a Dilation and Curettage:
A dilation and curettage requires some recovery time. While the patient will be able to engage in most activities the day following the procedure, there will likely be cramping and discomfort for a few days. The woman\'s next menstrual periods may be off schedule for a time after a dilation and curettage.

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