Hysteroscopic Polypectomy is a surgical procedure in which the uterine polyps are removed. These are the non-cancerous overgrowth of cells in the lining or the inner wall of the uterus.
It is a routine procedure that not only is used for elimination of polyps and its symptoms but is also a test for cancer. For most of the recipients, the whole procedure is a minor inconvenience that gives you relief from symptoms and peace of mind.
How do you know if you need one?
Most of the people who have polyps don’t even know if they have them. A screening test is recommended when they start causing symptoms. In many cases, polyps are discovered during screening for a completely different thing. Many people go for the screening test for the detection of polyps along with the polypectomy to remove the polyps.
What are polyps?
Polyps are the overgrowth of tissues that extends into the hollow spaces in the body. Most of them are benign; some are precancerous, some are cancerous. They are pretty common. Uterine polyps become very common as a woman ages. Menopausal women are more at risk of developing uterine polyps. Some of these polyps grow large putting pressure on organs, altering blood flow and causing a whole bunch of other symptoms.
Depending on the location of the polyps and the surgical technique, you will be prepared for the polypectomy. When it comes to uterine polyps, local anesthesia is administered and no special preparations are needed.
The procedure is performed by slicing the polyp from one free edge to the other. The aim is to remove the polyp’s base without disturbing the myometrium. The instruments required in the process are:
- Mechanical instruments
- Knife and loop electrodes
- Biopsy forceps, grasping forceps and scissors
- Morcellators (has a blade that cuts through the tissues and removes it by suction simultaneously)
- Hysteroscopic polyp snare (it cuts and coagulates the polyps and can be used with or without electrocautery)
- Versapoint bipolar electrodes (used for removing endometrial polyps without anesthesia)
After you have been given the IV needle, you will start to feel drowsy and relaxed. A scope is used to remove most polyps. This is a tube inserted into the body that eliminates the need for a large incision. As the scope is inserted into the vagina, through the cervix, into the uterus, the doctor will get a clear view of the polyps. There are different surgical techniques that can be used. Choosing any of the specific removal techniques does not affect the experience of the patient.
- Cold forceps polypectomy
This technique is used for small polyps. Forceps are used to pull the polyp loose. Next, the wire is used to remove the portion of the polyp extending into the tissue.
- Hot forceps polypectomy
It is similar to cold forceps polypectomy. However, instead of just grabbing the tip of the polyp, the remaining polyp tissue is burned off using electrocautery to prevent further bleeding.
- Snare polypectomy
The snare is a loop used for grabbing and removing the polyp. This technique is used when the polyp is larger than 1 cm. Electrocautery can be used to burn away the remaining polyp tissue. Also, the snare can be either hot or cold.
In the case of the large-sized polyp, removing them through an incision might be necessary. This process, however, is a little more complicated.
No matter the technique, during the procedure, you will feel no pain. However, you might feel a little pulling or pressure. Also, your doctor might prescribe some pain medications for after the procedure, depending on the location of the polyp.
Recovering is best done at home. If you were administered general anesthesia, you might have to stay in the hospital for at least a day or until the effects of the anesthesia wear off. You are not allowed to drink alcohol or drive during this time. While you are recovering, you might experience some of the following symptoms:
The pain is similar to the period of pain. Normally, this passes in a few days and in the meantime, you can take your regular painkillers like paracetamol or ibuprofen.
This can last up to a week. Instead of tampons, use sanitary pads. This will reduce the risk of your cervix or your womb getting infected.
All these side effects are completely normal and you shouldn’t worry about them. However, if these symptoms continue, you should seek medical care.
Many women go back to work and resume their normal activities on the same day. Some women even get back to work on the same day. However, if you want to rest, you should take a couple of days off. You need to ask your doctor regarding the activities you need to avoid to recover. In general, this includes the following:
- You won’t be able to start eating or drinking straight away. You will be feeling a bit sick due to general anesthesia. You can try eating small, light meals at first.
- Unless your doctor mentions something specifically, you can shower the same day and take a bath the next day. You might be feeling a little dizzy due to the general anesthesia. So, try to get an adult to help you.
- Avoid intercourse for a week or until the bleeding stops. This will also reduce the risk of infection.
It will take you about 2 weeks to completely recover from the procedure. Patients might feel a little pain immediately after the procedure.
Also, the removed polyp will be sent to a lab for testing. If the polyps are not cancerous, no further treatment will be required. However, you might have to undergo an exam following the procedure.
When to get medical advice
Contact your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms
- Pain that cannot be relieved by regular painkillers
- Padding bright and large red blood clots
- Feeling shivery and hot
- Have foul-smelling vaginal discharge
After the polyp is removed, it will be sent to a lab for testing. If it’s not cancerous, the patient will undergo an exam following the removal, but will likely need no further treatment.
Like all other surgical procedures, this process also has some risks including:
- Organ perforation – This happens when the organ that is being operated on gets punctured. This is very rare, but fatal.
- Excessive bleeding – This is caused when the wound does not heal properly.
- Infection – during the procedure, a wound is created and any wound can get infected. This is more likely to happen if you have poor health or you failed to follow doctor’s advice.
- Incomplete Procedure – In some cases, some tissues are left behind that results in the need of a second hysteroscopic polypectomy.
The advantages of the surgery are:
- It is the only way for the diagnosis of certain conditions
- It is not time-consuming
- There are no cuts or stitched in the abdomen
At the Apollo Cradle, Motinagar, we have an experienced medical team of doctors and other professionals who work hard to provide you the best care. We have experience in dealing with several polypectomy cases and can ensure you that you are in the best hands.