Dilation and curettage can diagnose or treat a uterine condition.
To diagnose a condition
Your doctor might recommend a type of D&C called endometrial sampling to diagnose a condition if:
- You have abnormal uterine bleeding
- You experience bleeding after menopause
- Your doctor discovers abnormal endometrial cells during a routine test for cervical cancer
To perform the test, your doctor collects a tissue sample from the lining of your uterus (endometrium) and sends the sample to a lab for testing. The test can check for:
- Endometrial hyperplasia — a precancerous condition in which the uterine lining becomes too thick
- Uterine polyps
- Uterine cancer
To treat a condition
When performing a therapeutic D&C, your doctor removes the contents from inside your uterus, not just a small tissue sample. Your doctor may do this to:
- Clear out tissues that remain in the uterus after a miscarriage or abortion to prevent infection or heavy bleeding
- Remove a molar pregnancy, in which a tumor forms instead of a normal pregnancy
- Treat excessive bleeding after delivery by clearing out any placenta that remains in the uterus
- Remove cervical or uterine polyps, which are usually noncancerous (benign)
Your doctor may perform the D&C along with another procedure called a hysteroscopy. During a hysteroscopy, your doctor inserts a slim instrument with a light and camera on the end into your vagina, through your cervix and up into your uterus.
Your doctor then views the lining of your uterus on a screen, noting any areas that look abnormal, making sure there aren't any polyps and taking tissue samples as needed. During a hysteroscopy, your doctor can also remove uterine polyps and fibroid tumors.
Oct. 26, 2016
- 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.
- Stovall DW. Dilation and curettage. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 9, 2016.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Sedation, analgesia and anesthesia. American Society of Anesthesiologists. https://www.asahq.org/resources/patients/patient-education-brochures. Accessed Aug. 9, 2016.
Dilation and curettage (D&C)