The abbreviation D&C stands for dilation and curettage of the uterus. The procedure involves scraping the interior lining of the uterus known as the endometrial lining. The procedure is used in both diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. A D&C is performed for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to diagnosis of disease or damage to walls of the uterus, to remove placenta or membranes left in the uterus following miscarriage, childbirth or stillbirth and, in some cases, for abortion.
Any woman who fails to naturally expel the placenta from her uterus following the birth of a child will benefit from an D&C. Removal of such tissues following birth help prevent bleeding and infection. Those suspected of cancer, suspicious tumor growth or other uterine abnormalities may also benefit from the procedure.
The D&C procedure can be performed by a family doctor, a general surgeon or an OB/GYN specialist in either an outpatient setting or in a hospital. Depending on the scenario, general anesthesia may be given, or a sedative combined with a local anesthetic.
The doctor first cleanses the vaginal area and vault with a sterilized solution. The cervix, the opening to the uterus is dilated with metal rods that gradually increase in diameter. Using such a technique, the cervix usually opens up to 2 centimeters, adequate for the remainder of the procedure. In some areas, natural ingredients such as frozen seaweed may be inserted into the vagina and placed near the cervix. In about 12 hours, the swelling seaweed effectively dilates the cervix to about 2 centimeters.
Following the dilation portion of the procedure, a surgical instrument called a curette is inserted up the vagina and into the uterus. The curette is a suction device with a scooped edge or blade on its end that is used to scrape and/or suction pieces of endometrial lining from the uterine walls.
Gynecologists and gynecologic surgeons or pediatricians are required to undergo basic medical training in addition to 2 to 4 years of postgraduate training in gynecology obstetrics or gynecology, also known as OB/GYN. Training focuses on immediate and direct patient care. After training and residency, physicians are able to sit for exams for certification.
Members of gynecologic and obstetrical professional and surgical associations and organizations are required to maintain their professional standing, obtain a lifelong learning and self-assessment education, complete cognitive expertise through examinations and licensing and undergo periodic evaluation for performance in practice.
Accredited and certified surgeons should belong to associations or other similar organizations or boards in the surgeon’s country of origin. Always verify the education, training and experience of any surgeon who may perform surgery and make sure they are licensed to practice in the facility of your choice.
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