Gynecology Surgery and Procedures 101

Common women's health procedures explained

Nurse comforting senior female patient
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Have you ever been to the gynecologist and been told you need a procedure for further evaluation of a GYN problem? You're not alone. Millions of women each year face the uncertainty of having a gynecological procedure or surgery performed.

Learn about these common GYN procedures and surgeries before you need them. Then, you’ll be one step ahead if your gynecologist ever says you need further evaluation of a potential problem.

As with all gynecological procedures, tell your doctor if you are or could be pregnant.


A colposcopy is a non-surgical diagnostic tool performed with a colposcope. It's used to further examine the cervix, vagina, and vulva when a woman has an abnormal Pap smear. If your gynecologist finds an area of unusual cells, she may take a sample and send it to the laboratory for testing. 

Cervical Cryosurgery

Most of the time abnormal cells in your cervix heal without treatment. If they don't, your healthcare professional might recommend cervical cryosurgery, or cryotherapy, which is a highly effective gynecological treatment that freezes a section of the cervix.

The purpose of this procedure is to destroy any abnormal cervical cells that show changes which may lead to cancer, called precancerous cells. Your gynecologist may use the term cervical dysplasia to describe your condition. 

LEEP Procedure

A gynecologist may use the loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) when a PAP smear indicates there are abnormal cells on the surface of the cervix.

During the procedure, she uses an electrically-charged, thin wire loop to cut away the abnormal tissue. 


Hysteroscopy provides a non-surgical way for your gynecologist to diagnose or treat uterine problems, including to remove adhesions, to locate an intrauterine device or to determine the cause of repeated miscarriage.

During this procedure, a healthcare professional uses a hysteroscope, which is a thin, lighted, telescope-like instrument that is inserted into your uterus through the vagina and sends pictures of your uterus onto a screen for further examination. 

Pelvic Laparoscopy

Laparoscopy is a surgical procedure usually performed under general anesthesia; however, it can be performed with other types of anesthesia that permit the patient to remain awake.

The typical pelvic laparoscopy involves a small (1/2" to 3/4") incision in the belly button or lower abdomen, followed by pumping carbon dioxide into your abdomen to help the surgeon see your organs more easily. Depending on your condition, she may take tissue samples, remove scar tissue, repair your uterus or remove your ovaries. 

Dilation and Curettage -- D & C

Dilation and curettage, commonly called a D &C, is one of the most common gynecological procedures. During this non-surgical procedure, the doctor removes your uterine lining with a curette that is sharp or uses suction.

It is a way to diagnose uterine conditions including, uterine cancer or polyps, and the precancerous condition endometrial hyperplasia. Your healthcare provider may also recommend it to remove:

A D & C can also provide important information about whether uterine cancer is present. 

More Women’s Health Surgery and Procedures

Sources: Health Topics from A to Z

Mayo Clinic: Colposcopy (2014)

Mayo Clinic: Dilation and Curettage, D & C (2014)

Planned Parenthood: Cryotherapy at a Glance

MedlinePlus: Pelvic Laparoscopy (2014)

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