Definition of dilation and curettage
Dilation and curettage (D&C) is a procedure to remove tissue from inside your uterus. Doctors perform dilation and curettage to diagnose and treat certain uterine conditions — such as heavy bleeding — or to clear the uterine lining after a miscarriage or abortion.
In a dilation and curettage — sometimes spelled “dilatation” and curettage — your doctor uses small instruments or a medication to open (dilate) your cervix — the lower, narrow part of your uterus. Your doctor then uses a surgical instrument called a curette to remove uterine tissue. Curettes used in a D&C can be sharp or use suction.
Why it’s done
Dilation and curettage can diagnose or treat a uterine condition.
To diagnose a condition
Your doctor might recommend a D&C to diagnose a condition if:
- You have abnormal uterine bleeding
- You experience bleeding after menopause
- Your doctor discovers abnormal endometrial cells during a routine test for cervical cancer
To perform the test, your doctor collects a tissue sample from the lining of your uterus (endometrium) and sends the sample to a lab for testing. The test can check for:
- Uterine cancer
- Uterine polyps
- Endometrial hyperplasia — a precancerous condition in which the uterine lining becomes too thick