Endometrial ablation is a procedure to treat many causes of heavy bleeding. Often, a doctor will first try to treat the heavy bleeding with medication, but if it still cannot be controlled endometrial ablation may be used. Essentially, it destroys a thin layer of the lining of the uterus to reduce bleeding to normal or lighter levels.
There are various methods to perform endometrial ablation:
- Radiofrequency – A probe is inserted into the uterus through the cervix. The tip of the probe expands into a mesh-like device that send radiofrequency energy into the lining, destroying the endometrial tissue.
- Freezing – A thin probe is inserted into the uterus. The tip of the probe freezes the uterine lining.
- Heated Fluid – Fluid is inserted into the uterus through thin, light-transmitting device. The fluid is heated and stays in the uterus for about 10 minutes and destroys the lining.
- Heated Balloon – A balloon is placed in the uterus and filled with heated fluid. The balloon expands until its edges touch the uterine lining and the heat destroys the endometrium.
- Microwave energy – A special probe is inserted into the uterus through the cervix and applies microwave energy to the uterine lining, which destroys it.
- Electrosurgery – A thin telescopic device, called a resectoscope, is inserted into the uterus. It uses an electrical wire loop, roller-ball, or spiked-ball tip to destroy the uterine lining. This technique is generally done in an operating room with general anesthesia.
Side Effects & Risks
Endometrial ablation is considered to be a very minor procedure with only minor side effects. Some side effects include cramping, discharge, frequent urination, and nausea.
There is a small risk of infection and bleeding. In addition, there is a small risk of burns and absorption of fluid into your bloodstream, depending on the method used for your procedure. These risks can cause serious issues but are carefully monitored throughout the procedure and rarely occur.