6 Common Gynecology Surgeries and Procedures

Have you been told by a healthcare provider that you need a procedure to evaluate a gynecological problem further? You're not alone. Millions of people each year have a gynecological procedure or surgery (procedures that deal with uterus, ovaries, cervix, or vagina).

This article describes the most common gynecological procedures and why they are done.

With all gynecological procedures, tell your healthcare provider if you are or could be pregnant.

Nurse comforting senior female patient
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Cervical Cryosurgery

Abnormal cervical cells are sometimes discovered during a routine Pap smear (screening for cervical cancer). Abnormal cells do not always indicate cancer, but your healthcare provider will likely want to do some follow-up tests or procedures.

One procedure they may recommend is cervical cryosurgery, also called cryotherapy. This procedure is a highly effective gynecological treatment that freezes a section of the cervix.

What Is the Cervix?

The cervix is the lowest part of the uterus (referred to as the "neck") that opens into the vagina.

Abnormal cervical cells that show changes indicating it could lead to cancer are called precancerous cells. Cryosurgery destroys these cells to stop them from developing into cancer. A gynecologist may use the term cervical dysplasia to describe this condition.

Colposcopy

A colposcopy is a non-surgical diagnostic tool used to examine the cervix, vagina, and vulva more closely. It is sometimes used when a person has an abnormal Pap smear.

During the procedure, a healthcare provider uses a colposcope, a magnifying instrument. If an area appears concerning during this procedure, they may take a sample and send it to the laboratory for testing.

Dilation and Curettage (D&C)

Dilation and curettage (D&C) is one of the most common gynecological procedures. During this procedure, a healthcare provider removes a portion of your uterine lining with a suction device or a sharp curette (a surgical instrument used for scraping).

The procedure can diagnose uterine conditions, including: 

In addition, D&Cs are commonly used for abortion procedures, miscarriage, molar pregnancy, and retained placenta (when a placenta does not come out after childbirth).

Hysteroscopy

Hysteroscopy is a procedure that your healthcare provider may use to diagnose or treat uterine problems. This procedure might be used to:

  • Remove adhesions (scar tissue)
  • Locate an intrauterine device
  • Determine the cause of repeated miscarriage

During this procedure, a healthcare professional inserts a hysteroscope, a thin, lighted, telescope-like instrument, into your uterus through the vagina. Then, it sends pictures of your uterus to a screen for further examination.

LEEP Procedure

When a PAP smear indicates abnormal cells on the surface of the cervix, a healthcare provider may recommend a loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP).

An electrically-charged, thin wire loop is used to cut away the abnormal tissue during the procedure. The procedure is fast and performed under local anesthesia in a doctor's office.

Pelvic Laparoscopy

Laparoscopy is a surgical procedure usually performed under general anesthesia. However, it can be performed with other types of anesthesia while you are awake. It is used for:

The typical pelvic laparoscopy involves a small (1/2- to 3/4-inch) incision in the belly button or lower abdomen. A surgeon then pumps carbon dioxide into your abdomen to help them see your organs more easily.

Depending on your condition, they may also:

  • Take tissue samples
  • Remove scar tissue
  • Repair your uterus
  • Remove your ovaries

Summary

Common gynecological procedures include cervical cryosurgery, colposcopy, D&C, hysteroscopy, LEEP, and pelvic laparoscopy. Many of these procedures can help healthcare providers get a better look at the uterus, cervix, and vagina and take samples for a biopsy. Some of them can also treat certain conditions.

A Word From Verywell

Understandably, you may have concerns about any procedure your healthcare provider or gynecologist recommends. Learning as much as you can is a good idea. In addition, it's essential to ask your doctor any questions you may have. Finally, don't forget to tell them if you may be pregnant, although they usually do a test to check first.

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9 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. National Cancer Institute. Understanding cervical changes: next steps after an abnormal screening test.

  2. Wright JD. Patient education: management of a cervical biopsy with precancerous cells (Beyond the Basics).

  3. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Colposcopy.

  4. Braaten KP, Dutton C. Dilation and curettage. UptoDate.

  5. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Endometrial hyperplasia.

  6. Cleveland Clinic. Molar pregnancy: management and treatment.

  7. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Hysteroscopy.

  8. Cleveland Clinic. Hysteroscopy: procedure details.

  9. MedlinePlus. Pelvic laparoscopy.

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