Women's Health Alliance

Dilation and Curettage Procedure (D&C)

Dilation and curettage, also know as D&C, is a procedure to remove tissue from inside the uterus. Doctors perform dilation and curettage to diagnose and treat certain uterine conditions. Dilation is when the opening of the lower part of the uterus is widened. Curettage is when the uterine contents are removed with a curette.

Why D&C?

You may need a D&C to clear the uterine lining due to heavy bleeding conditions, to remove cysts or tumors, or after a miscarriage or abortion. The procedure does not involve cuts or stitches, it only cleanses the cervix with an antiseptic solution. However, you may receive some type of anesthesia before or during the D&C procedure.

What happens during the procedure?

During a D&C, you lie on your back and place your legs on stirrups, like during a pelvic exam. The doctor will insert a speculum into the vagina and clamp the cervix in place.

During dilation, the doctor may insert a slender rod, laminaria, in order to gradually open the uterus. In some cases, medication may be given in order to soften the cervix to help it widen.

During curettage, in addition to using the curette tool, the doctor may use a cannula to suction remaining contents of the uterus. This can cause cramping. In many cases, that tissue sample will go to the lab for further examination.