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Dilation and Curettage (D and C)
Dilation and Curettage (D and C) What is a dilation and curettage (D&C)? A dilation and curettage procedure is also called a D&C. It is a surgery to remove abnormal tissues in the uterus. Your healthcare provider will first expand (dilate) the lower narrow part of the uterus (cervix). Next, he or she will scrape out the lining of the uterus (endometrium) with a spoon-shaped tool. A suction D&C uses suction to remove uterine contents. This is sometimes called a dilation and evacuation (D&...
Cervical Biopsy
Cervical Biopsy What is a cervical biopsy? A cervical biopsy is a procedure to remove tissue from the cervix to test for abnormal or precancerous conditions, or cervical cancer. The cervix is the lower, narrow part of the uterus. It forms a canal that opens into the vagina. Cervical biopsies can be done in several ways. The biopsy can remove a sample of tissue for testing. It can also be used to completely take out abnormal tissue. It can also treat cells that may turn into cancer. Types of cervical bio...
Colposcopy
Colposcopy What is colposcopy? Your healthcare provider uses colposcopy to view the opening to the uterus, called the cervix, and the vagina. It uses an instrument with a magnifying lens and a light, called a colposcope. It magnifies the image many times. The healthcare provider sees the tissues on the cervix and vaginal walls more clearly. In some cases, your provider will take a small sample of tissue for exam in the lab. This is called a cervical biopsy. Cervix. The lower, narrow part of the uterus l...
Tubal Ligation
Tubal Ligation What is tubal ligation? Tubal ligation is surgical procedure to prevent pregnancy. It has commonly been called "getting your tubes tied." It is also called a female sterilization. Tubal refers to the fallopian tubes. Each month, an egg is released from an ovary and travels through the fallopian tube to the uterus. Ligation means to tie off. This prevents the egg and male sperm from connecting to prevent pregnancy. During this surgery, both fallopian tubes are blocked or cut. It is usually...
Hysterectomy
Hysterectomy What is a hysterectomy? Hysterectomy is surgery to remove the uterus. Your healthcare provider may also remove one or both ovaries, and the fallopian tubes. In some cases, he or she may remove other parts of the reproductive system. The types of hysterectomy include: Total hysterectomy. Your provider removes the whole uterus including the cervix, but not the fallopian tubes or ovaries. It’s the most common type of hysterectomy. Hysterectomy with salpingo-oophorectomy. Your provider removes ...
Uterine Artery Embolization
Uterine Artery Embolization What is uterine artery embolization? Uterine fibroid embolization is a procedure to shrink noncancerous tumors in the uterus called uterine fibroids. It does not use major surgery, so you may recover faster. You also may not need to stay in the hospital. Uterine fibroid embolization shrinks fibroids by blocking off their blood supply. The doctor injects very small particles like sand into the arteries that supply the fibroids. The particles stick to the vessel wall. This caus...
Robotic Hysterectomy
Robotic Hysterectomy What is a robotic hysterectomy? Hysterectomy is the surgical removal of a woman's uterus. This surgery can be done through small incisions using a thin, lighted scope with a camera on the end (a laparoscope). This is called a laparoscopic hysterectomy. In robotic-assisted laparoscopic hysterectomy, the surgeon uses a computer to control the surgical instruments. The computer station is in the operating room. The surgeon is able to control the robot's movements steadily and precisely...
Pelvic Ultrasound
Pelvic Ultrasound What is a pelvic ultrasound? A pelvic ultrasound is a scan that looks at the organs and structures in your pelvic area. It lets your healthcare provider look at your: Uterus Cervix Vagina Fallopian tubes Ovaries Your provider can also use Doppler ultrasound to look at how blood is flowing in certain pelvic organs. Ultrasound uses a device called a transducer to send out sound waves that are too high to be heard. The transducer sends the sound waves through your skin and other body tiss...
Pap Test
Pap Test What is a Pap test? For a Pap test, your healthcare provider will collect and examine cells from your cervix. The cervix is the opening to the uterus. He or she will do this test to screen for cervical cancer and other problems. It’s important to talk with your healthcare provider about when and how often you should have a Pap test. Experts base screening guidelines on your age and risk factors for cervical cancer. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), guidelines include: ...
Mastectomy
Mastectomy What is a mastectomy? A mastectomy is surgery to remove a breast. Sometimes other tissues near the breast are also removed. It is part of treatment for breast cancer. In some cases, a mastectomy is done to prevent cancer from occurring in women who have a high risk for breast cancer. Why might I need a mastectomy? A mastectomy may be done as part of treatment for breast cancer. Your doctor will likely advise you to have a mastectomy if: The tumor is large The tumor involves more than 1 area o...
Mammogram
Mammogram What is a mammogram? A mammogram is an X-ray image of your breast. It is used to find and diagnose breast disease in women. Your healthcare provider may order a mammogram if you have a breast problem such as a lump, pain, or discharge from a nipple. Your provider may also order one as a screening test. The test can look for breast cancers, noncancerous or benign tumors, and cysts before they can be felt. If a mammogram shows an area in your breast that may be cancer, your provider can remove a...
Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP)
Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP) What is a loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP)? Loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) uses a wire loop heated by electric current to remove cells and tissue in a woman’s lower genital tract. It is used as part of the diagnosis and treatment for abnormal or cancerous conditions. The lower genital tract includes the cervix and vagina. The cervix is the lower, narrow part of the uterus and the vagina connects the cervix and the vulva. With L...
Laparoscopy
Laparoscopy What is a laparoscopy? Laparoscopy is a procedure used to check the organs in the belly (abdomen). It can also check a woman’s pelvic organs. Laparoscopy uses a thin lighted tube that has a video camera. The tube is called a laparoscope. It is put into a tiny cut or incision in your belly. The video camera images can be seen on a computer screen. One benefit of laparoscopy is that it is minimally invasive. That means it uses a very small cut in the belly. Laparoscopy usually takes less time ...
Hysteroscopy
Hysteroscopy What is a hysteroscopy? Hysteroscopy is the exam of the inside of the cervix and uterus using a thin, lighted, flexible tube called a hysteroscope. Your healthcare provider inserts the device through the vagina. Your provider may use hysteroscopy to: Take a tissue sample (biopsy) Remove polyps or fibroid tumors Prevent bleeding by destroying tissue using electric current, freezing, heat, or chemicals Your provider may do hysteroscopy in his or her office or in an outpatient center. You may ...
Fetal Ultrasound
Fetal Ultrasound What is fetal ultrasound? Fetal ultrasound is a test used during pregnancy. It creates an image of the baby in the mother's womb (uterus). It’s a safe way to check the health of an unborn baby. During a fetal ultrasound, the baby’s heart, head, and spine are evaluated, along with other parts of the baby. The test may be done either on the mother’s abdomen (transabdominal) or in the vagina (transvaginal). There are several types of fetal ultrasound: Standard ultrasound. The test uses sou...
Fetal Heart Monitoring
Fetal Heart Monitoring What is fetal heart monitoring? Fetal heart rate monitoring measures the fetus’ heart rate and rhythm. This lets your healthcare provider see how your fetus is doing. Your healthcare provider may do fetal heart monitoring during late pregnancy and labor. The average fetal heart rate is between 110 and 160 beats per minute. It can vary by 5 to 25 beats per minute. The fetal heart rate may change as the fetus responds to conditions in the uterus. An abnormal fetal heart rate may mea...
Episiotomy
Episiotomy What is an episiotomy? An episiotomy is an incision through the area between your vaginal opening and the anus. This area is called the perineum. It’s done to make the vaginal opening larger for childbirth. Normally, once the fetus’ head is seen, the healthcare provider will ease the head and chin out of the vagina. Once the head is out, the shoulders and the rest of the body follow. Sometimes the vaginal opening does not stretch enough for the fetus’ head. In this case, episiotomy aids your ...
Endometrial Biopsy
Endometrial Biopsy What is an endometrial biopsy? Your health care provider can do an endometrial biopsy to take a small tissue sample from the lining of the uterus (endometrium) for study. The endometrial tissue is viewed under a microscope to look for abnormal cells. Your health care provider can also check the effects of hormones on the endometrium. Why might I need an endometrial biopsy? Your health care provider may suggest an endometrial biopsy if you have: Abnormal menstrual bleeding Bleeding aft...
Endometrial Ablation
Endometrial Ablation What is an endometrial ablation? Endometrial ablation is a procedure to remove a thin layer of tissue (endometrium) in the uterus. It is done to stop or reduce heavy menstrual bleeding. But it is only done on women who do not plan to have any children in the future. The procedure is not surgery, so you will not have any cut (incision). Instead your healthcare provider puts small tools through your vagina to reach your uterus. Your provider has several ways to do the procedure. He or...
Cystoscopy for Women
Cystoscopy for Women What is cystoscopy? Cystoscopy is a procedure that lets the health care provider view the urinary tract, particularly the bladder, the urethra, and the openings to the ureters. Cystoscopy can help find problems with the urinary tract. This may include early signs of cancer, infection, narrowing, blockage, or bleeding. To do this procedure, a long, flexible, lighted tube, called a cystoscope, is put into the urethra and moved up into the bladder. Here, the doctor can look closely at ...
Cesarean Section
Cesarean Section What is a Cesarean section? Cesarean section or C-section is the surgical delivery of a baby through a cut (incision) made in the mother's abdomen and uterus. Health care providers use it when they believe it is safer for the mother, the baby, or both. The incision made in the skin may be: Up-and-down (vertical). This incision extends from the belly button to the pubic hairline. or Across from side-to-side ( horizontal ). This incision extends across the pubic hairline. It is used most ...
Breast-Conserving Surgery
Breast-Conserving Surgery What is Test? What is breast-conserving surgery? Breast-conserving surgery (BCS) may be used as part of a treatment plan for breast cancer. It is sometimes called a lumpectomy or a partial mastectomy. During BCS, only the part of the breast that has cancer is removed. The cancer lump and some breast tissue around the lump are removed. How much of the breast is removed will depend on the lump’s size, and where it is located. The surgeon may also remove some of the lymph nodes un...
Breast Scan
Breast Scan What is a breast scan? A breast scan is an imaging test to look at your breasts. It is used when a mammogram has not given your healthcare provider enough information. A breast scan is a type of nuclear imaging test. This means that a tiny amount of a radioactive matter is used during the scan. The radioactive matter called tracer sends out gamma rays. These are picked up by the scanner to make a picture of your breasts. The areas of the breast where the radioactive tracer collects in greate...
Breast Ultrasound
Breast Ultrasound What is breast ultrasound? Breast ultrasound is an imaging test that uses sound waves to look at your breasts. It can help your healthcare provider find breast problems. It also lets your healthcare provider see how well blood is flowing to areas in your breasts. This test is often used along with mammography. The healthcare provider uses a device called a transducer to make the images of your breasts. The transducer sends out sound waves that bounce off your breast tissue. The sound w...
Breast MRI
Breast MRI What is breast MRI? MRI is a test that creates detailed images of organs, bones, and other structures inside your body. An MRI uses large magnets and a computer to make the images. It does not use radiation. An MRI scanner is a large machine with a tunnel. You lie on a table that slides in and out of the tunnel. For a breast MRI, a woman lies face down with her breasts positioned through holes in a table. A breast MRI is often done with contrast dye. The dye is injected into a vein in the arm...
Bone Density Test
Bone Density Test What is a bone density test? A bone density test is used to measure bone mineral content and density. It may be done using X-rays, dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA or DXA), or a special CT scan that uses computer software to determine bone density of the hip or spine. For various reasons, the DEXA scan is considered the "gold standard" or most accurate test. This measurement tells the healthcare provider whether there is decreased bone mass. This is a condition in which bones are...
Amniocentesis
Amniocentesis What is an amniocentesis? Amniocentesis is a procedure used to take out a small sample of the amniotic fluid for testing. This is the fluid that surrounds the fetus in a pregnant woman. Amniotic fluid is a clear, pale yellow fluid that: Protects the fetus from injury Protects against infection Allows the baby to move and develop properly Helps control the temperature of the fetus Along with various enzymes, proteins, hormones, and other substances, the amniotic fluid contains cells shed by...
Breast Biopsy
Breast Biopsy What is a breast biopsy? A biopsy is a small piece of tissue that is removed and checked in a lab. For a breast biopsy, breast tissue may be removed with a special biopsy needle. Or it may be removed during surgery. It is checked to see if cancer or other abnormal cells are present. Why might I need a breast biopsy? Click Image to Enlarge Breast biopsies may be done: To check a lump or mass that can be felt (is palpable) in the breast To check a problem seen on a mammogram, such as small c...
Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS)
Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) (CVS, Chorionic Villus Biopsy) Procedure overview What is chorionic villus sampling? Chorionic villus sampling (CVS) is a prenatal test that involves taking a sample of tissue from the placenta to test for chromosomal abnormalities and certain other genetic problems. The placenta is a structure in the uterus that provides blood and nutrients from the mother to the fetus, The chorionic villi are tiny projections of placental tissue that look like fingers and contain the sa...