RisksBy Mayo Clinic staff
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 happens when a surgical instrument pokes a hole in the uterus. It happens in up to 1 percent of women having a D&C overall, but occurs more frequently in women who were recently pregnant and in older women who have gone through menopause. Most of these tears 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 injured during a D&C, your doctor will treat it by applying pressure or medicine to stop the bleeding, or by suturing the tear.
- Scar tissue on the uterine wall. In rare cases, a D&C can lead to development of scar tissue in the uterus. This is called Asherman's syndrome and happens most frequently when the procedure is performed after a miscarriage or delivery. This can lead to abnormal, absent or painful menstrual cycles, future miscarriages and infertility. Asherman's syndrome can usually be treated with hormones that encourage growth of healthy uterine tissue, or scar tissue can sometimes be removed with surgery.
- Infection. Infection after a D&C is possible, but rare.
Contact your doctor if you experience any of the following:
- Bleeding that is heavy enough that you need to change protection every hour, or if light bleeding lasts longer than two weeks
- Cramps lasting more than 48 hours
- Pain that gets worse instead of better
- Foul-smelling discharge from the vagina
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