Dilation and curettage (D&C)

    Dilation and curettage (D&C)

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    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
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