Dilation and Curettage (cont.)
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- What is dilation and curettage?
- Why is a D and C done?
- What are reasons not to perform a D and C?
- Pre-op: What happens before surgery?
- What type of anesthesia is used for a D and C?
- How is a D and C performed?
- What are possible complications of a D and C?
- What happens after a D and C?
- Why is the D and C procedure becoming less common?
- Find a local Obstetrician-Gynecologist in your town
What happens after a D and C?
After the surgery, the patient is cared for in a post-anesthesia care unit during recovery from the anesthesia. Most patients can return to normal activities within a few days. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications may be recommended to relieve the mild pain and cramping that may follow. To decrease the chance of developing an infection, doctors advise that patients not use tampons or insert anything into the vagina for two weeks following the surgery, and to abstain from sexual intercourse for the same time period.
The follow-up office care depends on the surgeon. Most doctors have the patient return to the office to make sure that all is well and to discuss the results of the tissue samples that were removed. Usually, this is done 2 to 6 weeks post-operatively. Sometimes, the patient will simply be notified by a phone call with the results, and no direct contact with a health professional is necessary.
Why is the D and C procedure becoming less common?
In general, the number of D and Cs being performed has declined over the years. This procedure is no longer done to regulate abnormal bleeding patterns in women. Most of these problems are now managed with medications, such as hormones. Ultrasound and other imaging techniques are likewise playing a greater role in helping to evaluate the uterus without surgery.
Probably the single greatest reason for fewer D and Cs is the option of in-office endometrial sampling (biopsy) that can be performed with a very thin plastic suction curette. This procedure is very quick and easy, and generally is only as painful as a bad menstrual cramp. If the patient is given some oral pain medications before the procedure, the cramps are minimal. Furthermore, the tissue sample obtained is in many instances as good as that achieved during a D and C surgery.
Medically reviewed by Mikio A Nihira, MD; American Board of Obstetrics & Gynecology
Previous contributing medical author: Leon J. Baginski, MD, FACOG
"Patient information: Dilation and curettage (D and C) (Beyond the Basics)"
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