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Endometrial biopsy

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Endometrial biopsy is a diagnostic procedure in which a sample of tissue is collected from the endometrial lining and is analysed under a microscope for abnormalities and symptoms of cancer.

An endometrial biopsy is done due to the following reasons:

  • To check for cancer in the uterus
  • The underlying cause behind abnormal menstrual bleeding
  • To know the reason for vaginal bleeding post menopause
  • Evaluating fertility
  • To see the condition of endometrium during menstrual cycles
  • The reason behind abnormal Pap tests
  • To find the cause of thickened uterus lining detected on an ultrasound

Different Techniques of Endometrial Biopsy

  • Pipette the tissue from the uterus lining
  • Use of electronic device to suck the tissue
  • Jet irrigation technique to wash off tissue and then collect it
  • Scrapping the tissue with a curette and collect it with a suction (dilation and crettage)

How to prepare for the test?

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  • There are no as such major preparations to take before the test. However, your doctor will examine you physically and ask you a couple of questions prior to the test. The questions are related to your sexual health, previous history of any disease, miscarriage or surgery, menstrual cycles, whether planning to have a baby, etc.
  • Endometrial biopsy is usually not performed during pregnancy or if you are conceiving soon.
  • You need to tell your doctor if you are sensitive to or are allergic to any medications, iodine, latex and anaesthetic agents.
  • Following this discussion you may be asked to stop certain medicines like blood thinners before the biopsy.
  • You may be given mild pain killers (NSAIDs) about 30-60 minutes prior the exam to keep cramping and pain under control
  • The nurse will ask you to change your dress with a hospital gown
  • Your body posture will be exactly the same as that in pelvic ultrasound, i.e you lie down on the table, your knees are bent and feet are in stirrups

What happens during the test?

Your doctor cleans the vagina and the cervix with an antiseptic and then uses a speculum to dilate the vaginal opening and get a clear view of the cervix

He then applies any of those aforementioned biopsy techniques on you. Usually the pipette method is easy wherein a thin, flexible, sterile tube is inserted through the cervix that reaches the uterus and then the doctor take off a sample of tissue from the inner lining.

The collected cell sample is then tested under a microscope for presence of abnormalities

What to expect?

There’s no severe pain during the procedure except normal cramping and pressure when the instrument is inserted. However, these are controlled with the pain killers. You might have mild bleeding or spotting, so wear sanitary napkins, but no tampons.

You might feel dizzy and nauseated for some time

Your doctor will let you know if you need to abstain from sexual intercourse for a few days.

The reports are usually ready within a week or so

Risks associated with Endometrial Biopsy

Risks are usually not very common, nevertheless meagre chances of an infection, heavy bleeding, or uterus perforation remains.

The procedure takes about 10-15 minutes for completion. You will have to fix another appointment with your doctor to collect the reports and undergo further treatment if any abnormalities have been found out in the cells. Good Luck!

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Written by: Saptakee sengupta
Date last updated: January 11, 2015