Dilation and curettage is usually very safe, and complications are rare. However, there are risks. These include:
- Perforation of the uterus. Perforation of the uterus occurs when a surgical instrument pokes a hole in the uterus. This happens more often in women who were recently pregnant and in women who have gone through menopause. Most perforations heal on their own. However, if a blood vessel or other organ is damaged, a second procedure may be necessary to repair it.
- Damage to the cervix. If the cervix is torn during the D&C, your doctor can apply pressure or medicine to stop the bleeding, or can close the wound with stitches (sutures).
- Scar tissue on the uterine wall. Rarely, a D&C results in development of scar tissue in the uterus, a condition known as Asherman's syndrome. Asherman's syndrome happens most often when the D&C is done after a miscarriage or delivery. This can lead to abnormal, absent or painful menstrual cycles, future miscarriages and infertility.
- Infection. Infection after a D&C is possible, but rare.
Contact your doctor if you experience any of the following after a D&C:
Feb. 15, 2014
- Bleeding that's heavy enough that you need to change pads every hour
- Light bleeding that lasts longer than two weeks
- Cramps lasting more than 48 hours
- Pain that gets worse instead of better
- Foul-smelling discharge from the vagina
- Stovall DW. Dilation and curettage. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 17, 2013.
- Frequently asked questions. Special procedures FAQ062. Dilation and curettage. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq062.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20130917T1630247849. Accessed Sept. 17, 2013.
- DeCherney AH, et al. Current Diagnosis & Treatment Obstetrics & Gynecology.11th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2013. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=788. Accessed Sept. 17, 2013.
- Pfenninger JL, et al. Pfenninger & Fowler's Procedures for Primary Care. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier Mosby; 2011. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Sept. 17, 2013.
- Q&A: What you should know before surgery. American Society of Anesthesiologists. http://www.lifelinetomodernmedicine.com/What-To-Expect/QA-What-You-Should-Know-Before-Surgery.aspx. Accessed Sept. 18, 2013.
- Breitkopf DM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Sept. 29, 2013.