Risks

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:

  • Bleeding that's heavy enough that you need to change pads every hour
  • Fever
  • Cramps lasting more than 48 hours
  • Pain that gets worse instead of better
  • Foul-smelling discharge from the vagina
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.