6 Common Gynecology Surgeries and Procedures

Common women's health procedures explained

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Have you been told by your gynecologist that you need a procedure to further evaluate a GYN problem? You're not alone. Millions of women each year face the uncertainty of having a gynecological procedure or surgery performed.

It's a good idea to 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 more evaluation of a potential problem.

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

Cervical Cryosurgery

Most of the time abnormal cells in your cervix heal without treatment. If they do not, 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. 

Colposcopy

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. 

D&C: Dilation and Curettage 

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 suction or a sharp curette (surgical instrument).

The procedure 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 uterine fibroid tumors, a  molar pregnancy, or a placenta that remains in the uterus after a delivery that has caused excessive bleeding.

Hysteroscopy

Hysteroscopy provides a non-surgical way for your gynecologist to diagnose or treat uterine problems. These include removing adhesions, locating an intrauterine device, or determining 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. It sends pictures of your uterus to a screen for further examination. 

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. 

Pelvic Laparoscopy

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

The typical pelvic laparoscopy involves a small (1/2- to 3/4-inch) incision in the belly button or lower abdomen. Carbon dioxide is then pumped into your abdomen to help the surgeon see your organs more easily. Depending on your condition, she may also take tissue samples, remove scar tissue, repair your uterus, or remove your ovaries.

A Word From Verywell

It is understandable that you may have concerns about any procedure your gynecologist recommends. Learning as much as you can is a good idea, but it's also important to have a good conversation with your doctor. Ask her any questions you may have and don't forget to tell her if you may be pregnant.

Sources:

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. FAQ110 Special Procedures: Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP). 2017. https://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq110.pdf

Feltmate CM, Feldman S. Patient Education: Colposcopy (Beyond the Basics). UpToDate. 2016.

MedlinePlus. Pelvic Laparoscopy. U.S. National Library of Medicine. 2017.

Stovall DW. Patient Education: Dilation and Curettage (D and C) (Beyond the Basics). UpToDate. 2017.

Wright J. Patient Education: Management of a Cervical Biopsy With Precancerous Cells (Beyond the Basics). UpToDate. 2017.

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