Over the course of your life, you may develop certain symptoms, or a provider may notice something unusual during an exam, which causes a recommendation to undergo a gynecological procedure or surgery. You might need a procedure or surgery if:
- The results of your Pap smear are abnormal
- You experience abnormal vaginal bleeding
- You have been diagnosed with fibroid tumors or ovarian cysts
- You have pelvic pain
Procedures and surgeries
Surgical technology has advanced significantly and allows us to often perform procedures that are less invasive and have quick recovery times. Below is a list of common procedures. If you have received a recommendation for a procedure or surgery, your provider will offer you additional and extensive information about the procedure.
A colposcopy examines and takes a biopsy of the cervix. It is usually performed after you receive an abnormal pap smear and is used to identify cervical cancer or pre-cancerous conditions. If your colposcopy indicates you have abnormal cells it can indicate that you have genital warts (HPV), changes of the cervix (cervical dysplasia), or cervical cancer. Your provider will follow your biopsy with additional testing as necessary to track the changes in your cervix.
Dilation and curettage (D&C)
Dilation and Curettage can be performed for several reasons including, a surgical abortion performed in the first trimester (up to 14 weeks), pregnancy loss, or an incomplete miscarriage.
This test is often used to determine the cause of abnormal bleeding, bleeding after menopause, or bleeding associated with taking hormone replacement medications. It can be used to screen for endometrial cancer and is also helpful in determining why a woman has been unable to get pregnant. An abnormal result may indicate uterine fibroids, polyps, endometrial cancer, or other conditions.
A hysteroscopy is a diagnostic tool that looks into the uterus to diagnose and correct some conditions. You might need a hysteroscopy if you have abnormal bleeding, issues with infertility, repeated miscarriages, uterine adhesions, polyps or fibroids, or an IUD that has become embedded in the uterine wall.
Loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP)
LEEP is the most common procedure performed for the preinvasive disease of the cervix (dysplasia).
A myomectomy is a procedure that removes uterine fibroids but does not remove the uterus. This is a good option for women who have uterine fibroids and wish to become pregnant later on. Myomectomies are performed either by laparotomy, which removes fibroids through an abdominal incision; laparoscopy, which removes fibroids through the instrument also used to view them; or hysteroscopy, which is performed with an instrument inserted into the vagina.
A sonohystogram (or hysterosonogram) is a detailed look inside your uterus. Your doctor may recommend a sonohystogram if you have problems trying to conceive, abnormal bleeding, or miscarriage. The procedure can diagnose uterine fibroids, polyps, endometriosis, and other conditions.
Surgery for ovarian cysts
Ovarian cysts can be discovered during your pelvic exam and your provider may order an ultrasound or CT scan to confirm them. Ovarian cysts which are very large or persistent may require surgical removal.