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What is uterine ablation?

Uterine ablation is the surgical removal of the endometrium or the lining of the uterus. The uterus is a pear-shaped organ located in the lower abdominal (pelvic) area where a baby grows during pregnancy. When pregnancy does not occur, the endometrium is shed each month through menstrual bleeding. Uterine ablation is a treatment for menorrhagia (abnormally heavy menstrual bleeding).

Uterine ablation is a common but major surgery with significant risks and potential complications. You may have less invasive treatment options. Consider getting a second opinion about all your treatment choices before having uterine ablation.

Types of uterine ablation

The types of uterine ablation procedures include:

  • Balloon thermal ablation involves inserting a balloon into your uterus and filling it with heated liquid. The heat destroys your endometrium after approximately 10 minutes.

  • Cryoablation or freezing involves inserting a small probe into your uterus. The tip of the probe cools to extremely low temperatures. It freezes your endometrium to destroy it.

  • Electrosurgery involves inserting a special tool into your uterus that carries an electrical current. The electrical current destroys your endometrium. The tool can have a rollerball, wire loop, spiked ball, or triangular mesh tip. You will have this procedure done with general anesthesia in a hospital.

  • Hydrothermal ablation involves instilling and circulating heated fluid, usually saline, inside your uterus. The heat destroys your endometrium after approximately 10 minutes.

  • Laser involves inserting a laser probe into your uterus. The laser light energy destroys your endometrium.

  • Microwave involves inserting a probe into your uterus that uses microwave energy to destroy your endometrium.

  • Radiofrequency involves inserting a probe into your uterus that uses radio wave energy to destroy your endometrium.

Medical Reviewers: Daphne E. Hemmings, MD, MPH Last Review Date: Jul 14, 2013

© 2015 Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the Healthgrades User Agreement.

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Medical References

  1. Clinical Policy Bulletin: Endometrial Ablation. Aetna. http://www.aetna.com/cpb/medical/data/1_99/0091.html.
  2. Endometrial Ablation. American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq134.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20130617T1333038415.
  3. Endometrial Ablation. American Society for Reproductive Medicine. http://www.asrm.org/uploadedFiles/ASRM_Content/Resources/Patient_Resources/Fact_Sheets_and_Info_Book....
  4. Pile, JC. Evaluating postoperative fever: A focused approach. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. 2006;73 (Suppl 1):S62. http://ccjm.org/content/73/Suppl_1/S62.full.pdf.
  5. The Practice Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Indications and options for endometrial ablation.FertilSteril.̀ 2008;90:S236–40. http://www.asrm.org/uploadedFiles/ASRM_Content/News_and_Publications/Practice_Guidelines/Educational....

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