This is a medical examination of the uterus to identify and address issues related to abnormal bleeding. The procedure is performed with the use of a hysteroscope, which is a thin and lighted tube that the doctor inserts into the vagina to examine the inside of the uterus and cervix.
The surgery, known as operative hysteroscopy, may be performed to remove growths such as polyps, fibroids, or adhesions.
Hysteroscopy may also be combined with other procedures, such as laparoscopy, or used as a pre-operation diagnostic tool before procedures such as dilation and curettage (D&C). During laparoscopy, the doctor uses an endoscope, which is a slender tube with a camera, to view the outside of the uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes through an incision made in the navel or below it.
Types of hysteroscopy
There are two different types of hysteroscopy, which is a medical procedure where a doctor examines the uterus. These two types are diagnostic hysteroscopy and operative hysteroscopy.
- Diagnostic Hysteroscopy: This type of hysteroscopy is used to diagnose problems within the uterus and to confirm results from other tests such as hysterosalpingography (HSG). This is often performed in a doctor’s office.
- Operative Hysteroscopy: This type of hysteroscopy is used to correct any abnormal conditions found during a diagnostic hysteroscopy. The correction is done using small instruments that are inserted through the hysteroscope. This type of hysteroscopy is performed at the same time as the diagnostic hysteroscopy to avoid the need for a second surgery.
For example, operative hysteroscopy is utilized to correct various conditions in the uterus, such as:
- Removal of polyps and fibroids: The procedure is used to get rid of non-cancerous growths in the uterus.
- Removal of adhesions: Also known as Asherman’s Syndrome, these are scar tissue bands that can develop in the uterus and lead to abnormal menstrual flow and infertility. The doctor uses hysteroscopy to locate and remove these adhesions.
- Diagnosis of septums: Hysteroscopy is used to determine if the patient has a uterine septum, a congenital defect in the uterus.
- Identification of abnormal bleeding: Hysteroscopy is employed to find the cause of excessive or lengthy menstrual periods, bleeding between periods, or after menopause.
When to undergo hysteroscopy
Typically, the procedure is advised to be done during the early stage of a woman’s menstrual cycle, typically within the first week following the onset of her period. This is to provide the physician with optimal visibility of the uterus.
The procedure is necessary in determining the reason for unexpected bleeding or spotting in women who are no longer menstruating (postmenopausal women).
Cost of a hysteroscopy in Nigeria
The cost of a hysteroscopy in Nigeria can vary widely, but it is generally quite expensive. This is due to the invasiveness of the procedure and the need for specialized medical equipment and expertise. On average, the cost of hysteroscopy in Nigeria can range from 850,000 to 4,000,000 naira, depending on factors such as the extent of the procedure, the surgeon, the location, and the health facility.
However, it is important to note that this cost can be higher if additional fees such as hospital fees, general anesthesia fees, and blood transfusion fees are included. A diagnostic-only procedure is typically less expensive than having surgery, but prices can be higher in cities like Lagos, Abuja, and Port Harcourt than in smaller cities like Benin City. In some cases, the cost of a hysteroscopy can reach up to 6,000,000 naira if the procedure is extensive.