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Endometrial surgery

BMJ Group Medical Reference

Introduction

This information is for people who have fibroids. It tells you about surgery to remove the lining of your womb, a treatment used for fibroids. It is based on the best and most up-to-date research.

Does it work?

We're not sure. Destroying the womb lining can make your periods lighter. But there's not enough research to say if removing the lining of your womb helps if you have fibroids.

So far, only two kinds of operation to destroy the womb lining (called thermal balloon endometrial ablation and rollerball endometrial ablation) have been tested in women with small fibroids.

We need more research in many women, including those with larger fibroids, to know if an operation to remove your womb lining can help symptoms caused by fibroids.

What is it?

The lining of your womb is known as the endometrium. There are lots of different ways of removing the womb lining.

  • It can be cut away in small pieces (in an operation known as endometrial resection) using a special instrument, such as a heated wire loop.

  • Or your womb lining can be destroyed (in an operation known as endometrial ablation) using heat in a variety of ways.

Newer techniques include using heat from microwaves, electrical currents, or a heated rollerball (called rollerball ablation). But not all techniques are suitable for women with heavy bleeding caused by fibroids.

We've prepared some extra information for people thinking of having these operations. To read more, see Endometrial ablation (diathermy) and Endometrial ablation (microwave).

Thermal balloon endometrial ablation is a simple treatment that has been tested in women with small fibroids. A surgeon uses a balloon filled with hot water to heat up the lining of your womb and destroy it. You can stay awake during this treatment, and it takes only about 15 minutes to 30 minutes. [81]

Here's what you can expect:

  • You may be given a sedative or painkiller first

  • Your doctor gives injections of local anaesthetic in and around the neck of your womb (your cervix) so the treatment won't hurt

  • Your doctor then puts a tube with a balloon on the end into your womb

  • Your doctor fills the balloon with water, which is then heated up

  • The water-filled balloon is left in your womb for about eight minutes

  • Your doctor then lets the water out and takes out the tube and balloon

  • You can go home the same day.

If you are having rollerball endometrial ablation a heated rollerball is used to destroy your womb lining rather than a balloon filled with water. The procedure takes about 40 minutes with a rollerball and about 12 minutes with a heated balloon. [81]

Last Updated: June 20, 2012
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.

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