Why it's doneBy Mayo Clinic staff
A D&C may be used to either diagnose or treat a uterine condition.
To diagnose a condition
In a diagnostic D&C, your doctor takes a sample of the tissue that lines your uterus (the endometrium) so tests can be performed on it. This is may be done when:
- You experience abnormal uterine bleeding
- You experience bleeding after menopause
- You have severe menstrual pain
- Your doctor discovers abnormal endometrial cells during a routine test for cervical cancer
Your doctor will send the tissue sample to a lab for tests, which may check for:
- Uterine cancer
- Uterine polyps
- Endometrial hyperplasia — a precancerous condition in which the uterine lining has become too thick
To treat a condition
In a therapeutic D&C, your doctor removes the contents of your uterus. Your doctor can do this to:
- 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 benign
- Remove fibroid tumors, which are benign tumors formed on the uterine wall that sometimes protrude into the uterine cavity
- Clear out any tissue that remains in the uterus after a miscarriage or abortion — to prevent infection or heavy bleeding, and to make room for a future pregnancy
A D&C is often performed along with another procedure called a hysteroscopy. In a hysteroscopy, a slim instrument with a light and camera on the end is inserted into your uterus. This allows your doctor to see your endometrium on a screen, to take samples of any areas that look abnormal, and to make sure that no small polyps are missed.
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