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Uterine polyp removal is a surgical procedure done to take out polyps that have developed on the lining of the uterus. Depending on the size of the polyp and whether or not it is benign, a doctor may use one of several different surgeries. Removal procedures are the only way to alleviate the symptoms caused by the polyp.
Often, the first step in uterine polyp removal is a procedure known as dilation and curettage. In this routine surgery, the cervix is dilated, giving the doctor access to the uterus. A sharp instrument is inserted into the uterus and the removal is performed. This procedure is often used to collect a sample polyp to be biopsied in order to see whether the polyp is benign. In some cases, such as the presence of only one polyp or a number of very small polyp, they can be completely removed during a dilation and curettage procedure.
Benign uterine polyps can also be removed through a hysteroscope. This device is inserted into the uterus, again after dilating the cervix, and allows the doctor to see into the uterus in order to remove polyps. Specialized tools to cut off the polyps can be inserted into the uterus through the hysteroscope. It may be necessary for this procedure to be done more than once because uterine polyps frequently grow back.
Occasionally, a doctor will need to perform a hysterectomy if uterine polyp removal is insufficient. This surgery, which involves the complete removal of the patient's uterus, is only rarely performed on women of childbearing age, though it is relatively common in women past the age of menopause. It may be necessary to perform a hysterectomy if the uterine polyps are malignant. This procedure, if the cancer is contained within the uterus, will generally cure the patient, though a doctor may recommend other cancer treatment as well.
For the vast majority of women, uterine polyp removal is a simple procedure that is performed quickly. The patient is not put under general anesthesia for hysteroscopy or dilation and curettage, and these procedures do not generally affect the woman's reproductive capacity. The patient is able to leave the clinic or hospital directly after one of these procedures. Patients that require a hysterectomy need to stay in the hospital longer and can expect a longer recovery.