D & C (Dilation And Curettage)


Dilation and curettage (D&C) is a process to eliminate tissue from the inner side of the uterus. Doctors execute dilation and curettage to detect and treat some specific uterine conditions, such as heavy bleeding, or to clear the uterine lining after a miscarriage or abortion.

In the process of dilation and curettage, the doctor uses small apparatuses or a medication to open (dilate) the cervix, which is the lower, thin part of the uterus. The doctor then uses surgical equipment known as a curette to rule out the uterine tissue. Curettes used in a D&C could be sharp or use suction.


Before the Process

To support the process of dilation, the Doctor uses a medicine known as misoprostol (Cytotec), which is given orally or vaginally, the drug softens the cervix and eases the insertion of a slender rod made of laminaria into the cervix. The laminaria expands slowly by absorbing the fluid in the cervix, which opens the cervix. For dilation and curettage, the women would receive anesthesia. The choice of anesthesia is based on the reason for the D&C and medical history.

During the Process

  • Women would lie on their back on an exam table while their heels rest in supports known as stirrups.
  • The doctor then inserts an instrument known as a speculum into the vagina to see the cervix.
  • Then the doctor inserts a series of thicker and thicker rods into the cervix to gradually dilate the cervix until it is appropriately opened.
  • The doctor then removes the dilation rods and inserts a spoon-shaped instrument with a sharp edge or a suction device and eliminates the uterine tissue from the cervix.

After the Process

Women might have to spend a few hours in a recovery room after the D&C so that the doctor could monitor them for heavy bleeding or other complications. This also provides women with some time to recover from the effects of anesthesia.

If women had general anesthesia, they might become nauseated or feel the urge to vomit, or they might have a sore throat if a tube was placed in their windpipe to assist them in breathing.

Regular side effects of a D&C might last a few days and include:

  • Mild cramping
  • Spotting or light bleeding

To provide relief from cramping, the doctors might prescribe ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) or another medication. Women should be able to continue with their normal activities within a day or two.


D&C is usually a safe process and involves minimum risks. However, even if there is a slight chance of getting the risks, they might be:

  • Damage to the uterus
  • Harm to the cervix
  • Scar tissue on the uterine wall
  • Infection


Women should wait to put anything in the vagina until their cervix returns to normal to prevent bacteria from entering the uterus, possibly causing an infection. They should ask the doctors about their use of tampons and the continual of sexual activities.


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