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by EBSCO Medical Review Board

Endometrial Biopsy

(Biopsy, Endometrial)

Click here to view an animated version of this procedure.

Definition

Endometrial biopsy is the removal of a tissue sample from the lining of the uterus (womb).
The Endometrium
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Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Reasons for Procedure

This procedure may be done to:
  • Evaluate the cause of bleeding in postmenopausal women
  • Evaluate heavy menstrual bleeding or bleeding between periods
  • Obtain a tissue sample to test for cancer or precancerous conditions
  • Monitor the uterine lining in women on estrogen replacement therapy
  • Help evaluate the cause of infertility or repeated miscarriages

Possible Complications

Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:
  • Excess bleeding
  • Problems from anesthesia, such as wheezing or sore throat
  • Infection
  • Damage to the uterus (rare)
Things that may raise the risk of problems are:

What to Expect

Prior to Procedure

The care team may meet with you to talk about:
  • Timing the biopsy with your menstrual cycle
  • Anesthesia options
  • Any allergies you may have
  • Taking pain medicine before the biopsy
  • Current medicines, herbs, and supplements that you take and whether you need to stop taking them before the biopsy
  • Whether you need a ride to and from the biopsy

Anesthesia

The doctor may give local anesthesia. The cervix will be numbed.

Description of the Procedure

A speculum will be inserted into the vagina. An tool called a tenaculum will be inserted and used to grasp the cervix. A flexible, thin, suction tube will be passed through the vagina and into the uterus. A small sample of endometrial tissue will be suctioned out. The tools will be removed.

How Long Will It Take?

About 10 to 15 minutes

Will It Hurt?

Pain is common after the procedure. Some women may also feel lightheaded or flushed. Medicine and home care help.

Post-procedure Care

At the Care Center
After the procedure, the staff will have you lie down for at least 10 minutes.
At Home
The cramping and bleeding will go away in a few days. Tampons and sex will need to be avoided.
The doctor will get the results from the biopsy in about a week. A treatment plan will be made.

Call Your Doctor

Call the doctor if you are not getting better or you have:
  • Signs of infection, such as fever and chills
  • Pain that you cannot control with medicine
  • Vaginal bleeding that soaks more than one pad per hour
  • Foul smelling vaginal discharge
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.

RESOURCES

American Cancer Society
http://www.cancer.org
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
http://www.acog.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Health Canada
https://www.canada.ca
Women's Health Matters
http://www.womenshealthmatters.ca

References

Abnormal uterine bleeding. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/condition/abnormal-uterine-bleeding. Accessed August 25, 2021.
Endometrial cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/endometrial-cancer.html. Accessed August 25, 2021.

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