How To Prepare For Your Endometrial Ablation

Endometrial ablation is a non-invasive surgical procedure involving the delivery of high-dose radio, thermal, or microwave energy inside the uterus to destroy (ablate) the internal lining (endometrium) of the uterus. This process is carried out by a certified specialist gynaecologist through a hysteroscope. A thin telescope (hysteroscope) is passed through the cervix and into the uterus. It is fitted with a light source and video camera to allow the surgeon to examine the internal lining of the uterus through a video monitor. The ablation procedure is then performed. Endometrial ablation is highly effective in significantly reducing heavy blood loss during menstruation, with some studies showing 90% of women returning to normal or light periods after the procedure. Up to 50% of women have no periods at all after an endometrial ablation. While the procedure is non-invasive, quick to perform and has a short recovery period, it is understandable that you may be nervous about your endometrial ablation. Let the experts in Dr Kent Kuswanto’s team relieve your worries with some key pointers on how to prepare for your procedure.

Before Your Procedure

Endometrial ablation is a non-invasive procedure, involving no incisions (cuts to your body). It is usually performed under general anaesthetic (fully asleep) in a hospital as a day case where you go home the same day as your procedure. The hospital you are booked in to have the operation will usually contact you 1-2 days prior to your surgery. They will confirm your admission time and location. You should generally have nothing to eat or drink for 6 hours before the operation.

Upon admission to the hospital, a urine pregnancy test is performed to rule out pregnancy prior to the surgery. A medication to help soften the cervix, allowing gentler and safer entry of the hysteroscopic instruments, may also be given. You will see your gynaecologist again in the hospital prior to your surgery. The anaesthetist will also meet you and assess you on the day.

Make sure you ask your specialist gynaecologist as many questions as possible in the lead up to your endometrial ablation. These include questions to help you understand your suitability, the process, risks and recovery period. The best treatment plan arises when options are discussed thoroughly and tailored to your individual needs based on your unique circumstances. This should be discussed in simple and easy to understand language. To begin the conversation about endometrial ablation with an expert in the field, get in contact with Dr Kent Kuswanto.

During Your Procedure

The procedure itself is short and non-invasive, lasting approximately 15 minutes. Upon general anaesthetic, your cervix and vagina are cleaned to prepare for the procedure. A thin telescope (hysteroscope) is inserted through your cervix and into the uterus to examine the endometrial lining. A biopsy is usually taken to ensure there are no abnormal cells prior to the ablation. Following the ablation, the endometrial lining is examined again to ensure that all the lining has been destroyed. If a tubal ligation or removal is also performed at the same time, a laparoscope is inserted into the patient’s abdomen, usually through a small 5mm cut in the belly button. Surgical instruments such as scissors and graspers may be inserted through additional small cuts (5- 10mm) to allow surgery to be performed.

Watch the animation below to see a demonstration of an endometrial ablation:

Endometrial Ablation Animation

Recovering from Endometrial Ablation

Endometrial ablation is a minimally invasive procedure with a recovery period of approximately 1-2 days. If a laparoscopy is also performed, recovery may take up to 1 week. You will be feeling drowsy from the general anaesthetic and require someone to bring you home and accompany you for the next day.

In the days after your procedure, you are likely to experience symptoms including:

  • Cramps, similar to that of menstrual pain. To alleviate this, take simple over-the-counter pain medications such as Paracetamol and NSAIDs (non-steroidals)
  • Vaginal discharge, consisting of light blood and water-like loss. The initial heavy discharge can be managed using sanitary pads
  • Increased urination, especially in the first 24 hours post procedure

After your procedure, expect to see final and more permanent results after a few months, ranging from a lighter period to no period at all.

Dr Kent Kuswanto is an expert gynaecologist with a specialisation in minimally invasive surgeries including endometrial ablation. Dr Kent Kuswanto offers the option of telehealth consults, in addition to his consulting rooms in the convenient locations of East Melbourne, Box Hill and Werribee. Get in contact with the friendly team at Dr Kent Kuswanto’s office regarding all your pelvic health needs.