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Tubal Ligation
Tubal Ligation (Female Sterilization) Tubal ligation is surgical procedure you may choose if you are an adult woman and you do not want to get pregnant in the future. You may have heard tubal ligation referred to as "getting your tubes tied." The word tubal refers to the fallopian tubes that carry the egg released from an ovary to your uterus every month. The word ligation means to tie off. Since this procedure prevents the egg and male sperm from connecting, it prevents pregnancy from occurring. It is ...
Breast-Conserving Surgery
Breast-Conserving Surgery (Breast Conservation Therapy, BCT, Lumpectomy, Quadrantectomy) Procedure overview Click to Enlarge Breast-conserving surgery may be used as a part of a treatment plan for breast cancer. During breast-conserving surgery, the cancerous lump and a portion of the breast tissue around the cancerous lump are removed. However, the breast itself remains intact. The surgeon may also remove some of the lymph nodes under the arm to determine if the cancer has spread. Lymph nodes are bean-...
Hysterectomy
Hysterectomy (Removal of the Uterus) Procedure overview What is a hysterectomy? Click Image to Enlarge Hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus. Different portions of the uterus, as well as other organs, may be removed at the same time. The types of hysterectomy include: Total hysterectomy. Includes the removal of the entire uterus, including the fundus (the part of the uterus above the openings of the fallopian tubes) and the cervix, but not the tubes or ovaries. This is the most common type ...
Laparoscopy
Laparoscopy (Peritoneoscopy, Gynecologic Laparoscopy, Pelviscopy, Exploratory Laparoscopy) Procedure overview Laparoscopy is a procedure used to examine the organs of the abdominal cavity. Laparoscopy utilizes a laparoscope, a thin flexible tube containing a video camera. The laparoscope is placed through a small incision in the abdomen and produces images that can be seen on a computer screen. A similar procedure can be used to look at the organs of the pelvis (gynecologic laparoscopy or pelviscopy). T...
Cesarean Delivery
Cesarean Delivery (Cesarean Section, C-section, Cesarean Birth) Procedure overview What is a cesarean delivery? Click Image to Enlarge Cesarean delivery (also called a cesarean section or C-section) is the surgical delivery of a baby by an incision through the mother's abdomen and uterus. This procedure is performed when it is determined to be a safer method than a vaginal delivery for the mother, baby, or both. In a cesarean delivery, an incision is made in the skin and into the uterus at the lower par...
Pap Test Procedure
Pap Test Procedure (Pap Smear, Pap Screening, Papanicolaou Test) Procedure overview What is a Pap test? A Pap test, named after Dr. George Papanicolaou who designed the test, is a screening test to collect and microscopically examine cells taken from the cervix, the lower, narrow part of the uterus (womb) located between the bladder and the rectum. The cervix forms a canal that opens into the vagina, which leads to the outside of the body. With a Pap test, cells can be collected from the vagina as well ...
Breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) (MRI Scan of the Breast) Click Image to Enlarge Procedure overview What is magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)? Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of a large magnet, radiofrequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body. How does an MRI work? The MRI machine is a large, cylindrical (tube-shaped) machine that creates a strong magnetic field around the patient. The magnetic f...
Fetal Ultrasound
Fetal Ultrasound Click Image to Enlarge Procedure overview What is a fetal ultrasound? Fetal ultrasound is a test used during pregnancy that creates an image of the fetus in the mother's uterus, or womb. During a fetal ultrasound, various parts of the baby, such as the heart, head, and spine, are identified and measured. The testing may be performed either through the mother's abdomen (transabdominal) or vaginal canal (transvaginal). Fetal ultrasound provides a noninvasive way to evaluate the health of ...
Pelvic Ultrasound
Pelvic Ultrasound (Ultrasound-Pelvis, Pelvic Ultrasonography, Pelvic Sonography, Pelvic Scan, Lower Abdomen Ultrasound, Gynecologic Ultrasound, Transabdominal Ultrasound, Transvaginal Ultrasound, Endovaginal Ultrasound) Procedure overview What is a pelvic ultrasound? A pelvic ultrasound is a noninvasive (the skin is not pierced) procedure used to assess organs and structures within the female pelvis. A pelvic ultrasound allows quick visualization of the female pelvic organs and structures including the ...
Mammogram Procedure
Mammogram Procedure (Mammography, Breast X-ray) Procedure overview A mammogram is an X-ray examination of the breast. It is used to detect and diagnose breast disease in women who either have breast problems such as a lump, pain, or nipple discharge, as well as for women who have no breast complaints. The procedure allows detection of breast cancers, benign tumors, and cysts before they can be detected by palpation (touch). Mammography cannot prove that an abnormal area is cancer, but if it raises a sig...
Breast Scan
Breast Scan (Breast Scintigraphy, Scintimammography, Radionuclide Breast Imaging, Molecular Breast Imaging) Procedure overview What is a breast scan? A breast scan is a specialized radiology procedure used to assess the breasts when other examinations have been inconclusive. Click Image to Enlarge A breast scan is a type of nuclear radiology procedure. This means that a tiny amount of a radioactive substance is used during the procedure to assist in the examination of the breasts. The radioactive substa...
Uterine Artery Embolization
Uterine Artery Embolization Procedure overview What is uterine artery embolization? Uterine artery embolization (UAE) is a procedure that offers an alternative to traditional surgical removal of uterine fibroids. The procedure may also be referred to as uterine fibroid embolization (UFE). Uterine artery embolization shrinks fibroids by blocking off their blood supply. The blood supply is blocked by injecting very small particles into the arteries that supply the fibroids. The particles stick to the vess...
Bone Densitometry
Bone Densitometry (Bone Mineral Density [BMD] Test, Bone Density Test, Bone Mineral Content, Bone Absorptiometry) Procedure overview What is bone densitometry? Bone densitometry is used to measure the bone mineral content and density. This measurement can indicate decreased bone mass, a condition in which bones are more brittle and more prone to break or fracture easily. Bone densitometry is used primarily to diagnose osteoporosis and to determine fracture risk. The testing procedure measures the bone d...
Cystoscopy for Women
Cystoscopy for Women (Cystourethroscopy) Procedure overview Cystoscopy is a diagnostic procedure that allows the doctor to directly examine the urinary tract, particularly the bladder, the urethra, and the openings to the ureters. Cystoscopy can assist in identifying problems with the urinary tract, such as early signs of cancer, infection, strictures (narrowing), obstruction, and bleeding. A long, flexible, lighted tube, called a cystoscope, is inserted into the urethra (the tube that allows urine to p...
Amniocentesis Procedure
Amniocentesis Procedure (Amniotic Fluid Analysis) Procedure overview What is amniocentesis? Amniocentesis is a procedure used to obtain a small sample of the amniotic fluid that surrounds the fetus during pregnancy. Amniotic fluid is a clear, pale yellow fluid made by the fetus. The fluid protects the fetus from injury and helps to regulate the temperature of the fetus. In addition to various enzymes, proteins, hormones, and other substances, the amniotic fluid contains cells shed by the fetus. These ce...
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, a structure in the uterus that provides blood and nutrients from the mother to the fetus, to test for chromosomal abnormalities and certain other genetic problems. The chorionic villi are tiny projections of placental tissue that look like fingers and contain the same genetic mate...
Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP)
Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP) (Large Loop Excision of the Transformation Zone [LLETZ], Large Loop Excision of the Cervix [LLEC], Loop Cone Biopsy of the Cervix) Procedure overview 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 as part of the diagnosis and treatment for abnormal or cancerous conditions in a woman’s lower genital tract. The lower genital tract i...
Cervical Biopsy
Cervical Biopsy (Biopsy-Cervix, Cervical Punch Biopsy, Cone Biopsy, Conization) Procedure overview What is a cervical biopsy? A cervical biopsy is a procedure performed 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 (womb) located between the bladder and the rectum. It forms a canal that opens into the vagina, which leads to the outside of the body. Types of cervical biopsies There are several types...
Colposcopy
Colposcopy Procedure overview What is colposcopy? Colposcopy is a procedure that uses an instrument with a magnifying lens and a light, called a colposcope, to examine the cervix (opening to the uterus) and vagina for abnormalities. The colposcope magnifies the image many times, thus allowing the physician to see the tissues on the cervix and vaginal walls more clearly. In some cases, a cervical biopsy, a small sample of tissue, may be taken for further examination in the lab. Click Image to Enlarge Wha...
Dilation and Curettage (D and C)
Dilation and Curettage (D and C) (Dilatation and Curettage, D&C) Procedure overview What is a dilation and curettage (D&C)? A dilation and curettage procedure, also called a D&C, is a surgical procedure in which the cervix (lower, narrow part of the uterus) is dilated (expanded) so that the cervical canal and uterine lining (endometrium) can be scraped with a curette (spoon-shaped instrument) to remove abnormal tissues. A suction D&C uses suction to remove uterine contents. This is somet...
Endometrial Biopsy
Endometrial Biopsy (Biopsy-Endometrium) Procedure overview What is an endometrial biopsy? An endometrial biopsy is a procedure performed to obtain a small tissue sample from the lining of the uterus, called the endometrium. After the biopsy, the endometrial tissue is examined under a microscope to identify the presence of abnormal cells, or the effects of hormones on the endometrium. Other related procedures used to evaluate and treat endometrial problems include dilation and curettage (D & C), hyst...
Endometrial Ablation
Endometrial Ablation Procedure overview What is an endometrial ablation? Endometrial ablation is a procedure to permanently remove a thin tissue layer of the lining of the uterus to stop or reduce excessive or abnormal bleeding in women for whom childbearing is complete. The lining of the uterus is called the endometrium. In some cases, endometrial ablation may be an alternative to hysterectomy. There are several techniques used to perform endometrial ablation including the following: Electrical or elec...
Episiotomy
Episiotomy Procedure overview What is an episiotomy? Click Image to Enlarge An episiotomy is an incision through the vaginal wall and the perineum (the area between the thighs, extending from the vaginal opening to the anus) to enlarge the vaginal opening and facilitate childbirth. During a vaginal birth, the physician/midwife will assist the fetus' head and chin out of the vagina when it becomes visible. Once the head is out of the vagina, the physician/midwife usually rotates the fetus to the side and...
Hysteroscopy
Hysteroscopy Procedure Overview What is a hysteroscopy? Hysteroscopy is the visual examination of the canal of the cervix and interior of the uterus using a thin, lighted, flexible tube called a hysteroscope. The device is inserted through the vagina. Hysteroscopy may be used for both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. The hysteroscope allows for easy visual access to the interior of the cervix and uterus to assess the lining of these structures. Therapeutic maneuvers, such as taking a tissue sample (...
External and Internal Heart Rate Monitoring of the Fetus
External and Internal Heart Rate Monitoring of the Fetus (Fetal Monitoring, External and Internal) Procedure Overview What is external and internal fetal heart rate monitoring? Fetal heart rate monitoring is a procedure used to evaluate the well-being of the fetus by assessing the rate and rhythm of the fetal heartbeat. During late pregnancy and labor, your physician or midwife may recommend monitoring the fetal heart rate and other functions. The average fetal heart rate is between 110 and 160 beats pe...
Robotic Hysterectomy
Robotic Hysterectomy (Robot-Assisted Laparoscopic Hysterectomy) Procedure overview Hysterectomy is the surgical removal of a woman's uterus. When this surgery is done through small incisions using a thin, lighted scope with a camera on the end (a laparoscope), it is called a laparoscopic hysterectomy. Robotic-assisted laparoscopic hysterectomy uses a computer to control the surgical instruments during the surgery. The surgeon controls the movements of the computer from a computer station in the operatin...
Breast Biopsy
Breast Biopsy (Biopsy-Breast) Procedure overview What is a breast biopsy? A biopsy is a procedure performed to remove tissue or cells from the body for examination under a microscope. A breast biopsy is a procedure in which samples of breast tissue are removed with a special biopsy needle or during surgery to determine if cancer or other abnormal cells are present. Biopsies may be performed under local or general anesthesia. There are several types of breast biopsy procedures. The type of biopsy perform...
Mastectomy
Mastectomy Procedure Overview What is a mastectomy? A mastectomy is a surgical procedure in which all or a portion of a breast is removed as a part of a treatment plan for breast cancer. In some cases, mastectomy is performed prophylactically (to prevent cancer from occurring) in women with a high risk for developing breast cancer. Surgical treatment for breast cancer is generally divided into two categories: breast-conserving therapy (BCT) or mastectomy. BCT involves removing the least possible amount ...
Breast Ultrasound
Breast Ultrasound (Breast Ultrasonography, Breast Sonogram, Mammographic Ultrasound, Sonomammography, Ultrasound Mammography) Procedure overview What is breast ultrasound? Breast ultrasound is a noninvasive (the skin is not pierced) procedure used to assess the breasts. Ultrasound technology allows quick visualization of the breast tissue. Ultrasound may also be used to assess blood flow to areas inside the breasts. The examination is often used along with mammography. Click Image to Enlarge Breast ultr...