Why it's done

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.