05 Sep How does an endometrial ablation work?
Updated: May 10, 2023
Many women come to our practice looking for help with heavy periods. We offer many different options for treating menorrhagia (heavy bleeding), and one of these options is the NovaSure endometrial ablation. This procedure removes the uterine lining, which is the cause of your heavy bleeding. It is a five-minute outpatient procedure that does not require any incisions, and you can have this procedure performed at any point during your menstrual cycle.
Below, we discuss the endometrial ablation procedure, so you know what to expect and what to ask when you visit us for an appointment.
What steps do you take before the NovaSure endometrial ablation?
Prior to the procedure, we will give you a pregnancy test to make sure you are not pregnant. We will also conduct a thorough gynecological examination to make sure the cause of your menorrhagia is not a result of uterine cancer, an active pelvic infection, or an IUD. We will also check for fibroids, as fibroids of a certain size may prevent individuals from being candidates for this procedure.
There are two steps before the endometrial ablation:
- Hysteroscopy – This is where we look inside your uterus with a camera to confirm that the inner cavity of the uterus is a normal size and shape.
- Dilatation and Curettage (D&C) – This procedure tests the tissue in the lining of the uterus and ensures that there are no abnormal cells. We dilate the cervix and surgically remove a part of your uterine lining for testing.
How is NovaSure endometrial ablation performed?
After the initial steps and tests, we can move forward with the endometrial ablation. The NovaSure ablation is an outpatient procedure; although, it is not performed in-office. There are options for anesthesia for this outpatient procedure; you may choose to have general anesthesia (where you are asleep) or I.V. sedation (where you are awake).
To begin the procedure, we will dilate your cervix (the opening to your uterus) slightly. Then, we will insert the NovaSure device, which is a slender wand, and extend a triangular-shaped netted device into your uterus.
The netting expands and fits snugly within the shape of your uterus. It then delivers a precisely measured radiofrequency energy for about 90 seconds.
Finally, the netted device retracts into the wand, and we remove both from your uterus. We remove the entire NovaSure device, and no foreign objects are left behind inside of your uterus.
The results of this procedure are very effective. Most women experience reduced or stopped bleeding within one year.
Not a sterilization procedure
You will not be able to have children after the NovaSure endometrial ablation. However, this is not a sterilization procedure. Endometrial ablation removes the uterine lining, which is essential for nurturing a growing fetus, so pregnancy following this procedure is very dangerous. Permanent sterilization is required before the procedure will be performed. Sterilization can take the form of a tubal ligation or vasectomy. We can discuss these options with you during your appointment.
Who is a candidate for Novasure endometrial ablation?
The Novasure ablation is for premenopausal women with heavy periods due to benign causes who do not plan to bear children in the future.
This procedure is not for those who
- suspect uterine cancer;
- have an active genital, urinary, or pelvic infection;
- have an IUD;
- or have fibroids that are a certain size.
What are the risks and side effects?
NovaSure endometrial ablation is a safe and straightforward procedure, but there are still some risks, such as thermal injury, uterine perforation, and pelvic infection.
After the procedure, you may experience side effects, including cramping, nausea, vomiting, discharge, and spotting.
We will give you specific discharge instructions about how you should plan to get home and what you can and can’t do once you get there. Most women experience little or no pain and can return to regular activities within a day. However, you should call us if you experience increased abnormal discharge, intense post-procedural pain, increased bleeding, or a fever above 100.4°.
Novasure endometrial ablation
The NovaSure endometrial ablation is a five-minute outpatient procedure that removes the uterine lining, the cause of heavy bleeding, and is a great option for premenopausal women who do not plan to bear children in the future. Prior to the procedure, a pregnancy test and gynecological examination are conducted to ensure the patient is a good candidate.
The procedure involves dilating the cervix and inserting the NovaSure device, which delivers a precisely measured radiofrequency energy for about 90 seconds, and then retracting the device. The results of this procedure are very effective, with most women experiencing reduced or stopped bleeding within one year.
It is essential to note that this procedure is not a sterilization procedure, and permanent sterilization is required before performing the procedure. As with any medical procedure, there are risks and side effects, including thermal injury, uterine perforation, and pelvic infection. Patients may experience cramping, nausea, vomiting, discharge, and spotting.
It is important to follow the discharge instructions and call the doctor if any abnormal symptoms arise after the procedure.
Learn more about the treatments and services provided by Sylacauga OB-GYN
If you’ve been suffering from heavy menstrual flow, know that you’re not alone! At Sylacauga OB-GYN, we’ll discuss your options, your concerns, and if NovaSure is right for you — in a safe, comfortable environment. Sylacauga OB/GYN is the premier provider of obstetric and gynecological services in Sylacauga. We are accessible to patients from Clay County, Coosa County, Randolph County, Tallapoosa County, and Talladega County. Give us a call at 256-249-6995 for more information or to schedule an appointment.