Dilation And Curettage (D&C) Operation

What is a dilation and curettage procedure?

Dilation and Curettage is a minor surgical procedure to remove tissue from the endometrium (lining of the womb).

Although the procedure is carried out less frequently due to less invasive alternatives such as ultrasound scans being used instead dilation and curettage is still used to help investigate, diagnose and treat a number of problems affecting the womb, such as abnormal vaginal bleeding, polyps (abnormal growths) and womb cancer.

The procedure is usually carried out under general anaesthetic and does not usually require an overnight stay in a hospital.


There are two main parts to the D&C procedure:

Dilatation - where the cervix (the neck of the womb) is widened using special rods

Curettage - where the womb lining is removed using a thin, spoon-like scraping instrument

Dilation and curettage is often used in combination with a hysteroscopy. This is where a thin, flexible tube with a light and video camera at one end is used to look inside the womb to check for any abnormalities


Possible Side Effects and Aftercare

After the procedure, you will need to arrange for a friend or relative to take you home and stay with you for 24 hours.

You may experience some short-lived cramping and nausea for up to a day and are likely to experience some vaginal bleeding for a week or two. You should be able to return to work and most normal activities within two to three days.


The procedure is relatively straightforward and it’s unusual for you to experience any further problems. However, possible complications can include:

  • Infection of the womb
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Damage and scarring to the womb sometimes termed Asherman’s syndrome

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