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D&C or Dilatation and Curettage is a minor surgical procedure that involves dilation of the cervix (the mouth of the uterus) and curettage or scraping of its inner lining by a sharp instrument or by suction.
It is done to diagnose the cause of:
Heavy/abnormal uterine bleeding
Bleeding after menopause
It is therapeutic when it treats the cause simultaneously.
Clear the uterine cavity after a miscarriage or abortion to prevent bleeding/infection
Clear placental tissues that remain in the uterus after delivery that can cause bleeding/infection
Remove cervical or uterine polyps
The tissue removed by D&C is sent for histopathological examination to check for:
A hormonal disturbance that causes thickening of the endometrium (hyperplasia) that could be precancerous.
Retained products of conception
Your doctor may perform hysteroscopy along with D&C. During a hysteroscopy, a thin instrument with a light and camera is inserted in the cervix to visualise the uterine cavity so that targeted biopsy may be taken from abnormal-looking areas and conditions such as polyps may be diagnosed and removed simultaneously.
D&C is usually done under general anaesthesia, though sedation and local anaesthesia are used at times. It is a short procedure (10-15 minutes) though a few hours are needed to recover from the effect of general anaesthesia. After D&C you may have mild cramping, spotting or light bleeding. You should be able to resume your normal activities within a day or two.