Hysteroscopic Surgery

A hysteroscope is an endoscope that carries optical and light channels or fibers. It is introduced in a sheath that provides an inflow and outflow channel for insufflation of the uterine cavity. In addition, an operative channel may be present to introduce scissors, graspers or biopsy instruments. A hysteroscopic resectoscope is similar to a transurethral resectoscope and allows entry of an electric loop to shave off tissue, for instance to eliminate a fibroid. A contact hysteroscope is a hysteroscope that does not use distention media.

 

Procedure

Hysteroscopy has been done in the hospital, surgical centers and the office. It is best done when the endometrium is relatively thin, that is after a menstruation. Diagnostic can easily be done in an office or clinic setting. Local anesthesia can be used. Simple operative hysteroscopy can also be done in an office or clinic setting. Analgesics are not always necessary. A paracervical block may be used using a Lidocaine injection in the upper part of the cervix. The patient is in a lithotomy position during the procedure. Hysteroscopic intervention can also be done under general anesthesia (endotracheal or laryngeal mask) or Monitored Anesthesia Care (MAC). Prophylactic antibiotics are not necessary.

On December 19 2013, Lyn Brown MP made a speech in Parliament about pain experienced during hysteroscopy as many women do not find this painless; quite the contrary, some women find it extremely painful:


Cervical dilation

The diameter of the hysteroscope is generally too large to conveniently pass the cervix directly, thereby necessitating cervical dilation to be performed prior to insertion. Cervical dilation can be performed by temporarily stretching the cervix with a series of dilators of increasing diameter. Misoprostol prior to hysteroscopy for cervical dilation appears to facilitate an easier and uncomplicated procedure only in premenopausal women.


Insertion and inspection

The hysteroscope with its sheath is inserted transvaginally guided into the uterine cavity, the cavity insufflated, and an inspection is performed.


Insufflation media

The uterine cavity is a potential cavity and needs to be distended to allow for inspection. Thus during hysteroscopy either fluids or CO2 gas is introduced to expand the cavity. The choice is dependent on the procedure, the patient’s condition, and the physician's preference. Fluids can be used for both diagnostic and operative procedures. However, CO2 gas does not allow the clearing of blood and endometrial debris during the procedure, which could make the imaging visualization difficult. Gas embolism may also arise as a complication. Since the success of the procedure is totally depending on the quality of the high-resolution video images in front of surgeon's eyes, CO2 gas is not commonly used as the distention medium.

Electrolytic solutions include normal saline and lactated Ringer’s solution. Current recommendation is to use the electrolytic fluids in diagnostic cases, and in operative cases in which mechanical, laser, or bipolar energy is used. Since they conduct electricity, these fluids should not be used with monopolar electrosurgical devices. Non-electrolytic fluids eliminate problems with electrical conductivity, but can increase the risk of hyponatremia. These solutions include glucose, glycine, dextran (Hyskon), mannitol, sorbitol and a mannitol/sorbital mixture (Purisol). Water was once used routinely, however, problems with water intoxication and hemolysis discontinued its use by 1990. Each of these distention fluids is associated with unique physiological changes that should be considered when selecting a distention fluid. Glucose is contraindicated in patients with glucose intolerance. Sorbitol metabolizes to fructose in the liver and is contraindicated if a patient has fructose malabsorption. High-viscous Dextran also has potential complications which can be physiological and mechanical. It may crystallize on instruments and obstruct the valves and channels. Coagulation abnormalities and adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) have been reported. Glycine metabolizes into ammonia and can cross the blood brain barrier, causing agitation, vomiting and coma. Mannitol 5% should be used instead of glycine or sorbitol when using monopolar electrosurgical devices. Mannitol 5% has a diuretic effect and can also cause hypotension and circulatory collapse. The mannitol/sorbitol mixture (Purisol) should be avoided in patients with fructose malabsorption.

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