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Endometrial Biopsy

Alternate Names

  • endometrial curettage
  • endometrial sampling

Definition

An endometrial biopsy is a procedure in which the healthcare professional removes a small piece of tissue from the lining of the uterus.

Who is a candidate for the procedure?

An endometrial biopsy may be done for the following reasons:
  • to check on the effectiveness of hormonal therapy (HT)
  • to collect cells to culture for signs of infection
  • to identify the cause of abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • to look for causes of infertility
  • to rule out the possibility of cancer of the uterus

How is the procedure performed?

The woman lies on her back, with her knees up and her feet in stirrups. The healthcare professional places a speculum within the vagina. This device helps enlarge the opening of the vagina. Sometimes, a local anesthetic is sprayed on or injected into the cervix.
Then, the examiner may use a metal grasper, called a tenaculum. This device straightens the angle of the uterus. Next, the examiner passes a small plastic or metal tube into the uterus. The instrument is scraped over the uterine wall. Alternatively, a mild vacuum can be used to remove endometrial cells. The cell sample is sent to the lab for study.

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