Written by: Kristen Witkowski, MD
Endometrial ablation is a surgical procedure that destroys the innermost layer of the uterine lining, also known as the endometrium. This is the layer that is shed during menstruation. This procedure is typically used to treat abnormal or dysfunctional uterine bleeding during a women’s menstrual cycle and is used as an alternative to more invasive surgeries like a hysterectomy.
Endometrial ablation is most commonly done using heat. This is called thermal ablation and it can be done with:
- Radio frequency
- A balloon filled with saline solution that has been heated (thermal balloon ablation)
- Normal saline
The endometrium heals by scarring over, which reduces the amount of menstrual flow. The endometrial ablation procedure is done as an outpatient procedure and takes less than 45 minutes. This surgery may be done in the office under local anesthesia or in the operating room with a spinal anesthesia. Most women are back to their same routine the very next day and are very happy with the outcome.
Some women may not be candidates for an endometrial ablation and this can be discussed with their provider. Women who are considering future pregnancies should not have an ablation.