How you prepare

Dilation and curettage may be performed in a hospital, clinic or your doctor's office, and it's usually done as an outpatient procedure.

Before the procedure:

  • Follow your doctor's instructions on limiting food and drink.
  • Arrange for someone to help you get home because you may be drowsy after the anesthesia wears off.
  • Clear your schedule to allow enough time for the procedure and recovery afterward. You'll likely spend a few hours in recovery after the procedure.

In some cases, your doctor may start the process of dilating your cervix a few hours or even a day before the procedure. This helps your cervix open gradually and is usually done when your cervix needs to be dilated more than in a standard D&C, such as during pregnancy terminations or with certain types of hysteroscopy.

To promote dilation, your doctor uses a medication called misoprostol (Cytotec) — given orally or vaginally — to soften the cervix or inserts a slender rod made of laminaria into your cervix. The laminaria gradually expands by absorbing the fluid in your cervix, causing your cervix to open.

Oct. 26, 2016
References
  1. Frequently asked questions. Special procedures FAQ062. Dilation and curettage. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Dilation-and-Curettage-DandC. Accessed Aug. 9, 2016.
  2. Stovall DW. Dilation and curettage. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 9, 2016.
  3. Pfenninger JL, et al. Dilation and curettage. In: Pfenninger & Fowler's Procedures for Primary Care. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier Mosby; 2011. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Aug. 9, 2016.
  4. DeCherney AH, et al. Therapeutic gynecologic procedures. In: Current Diagnosis & Treatment Obstetrics & Gynecology. 11th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2013. http://www.accessmedicine.com. Accessed Aug. 9, 2016.
  5. Lemmers M, et al. Dilatation and curettage increases the risk of subsequent preterm birth: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Human Reproduction. 2016;31:34.
  6. Sedation, analgesia and anesthesia. American Society of Anesthesiologists. https://www.asahq.org/resources/patients/patient-education-brochures. Accessed Aug. 9, 2016.