Dilatation and curettage (D&C)

Used to diagnose and treat conditions of the womb.

Dilatation (dilation) is the “stretching” of the entrance of the cervix (the neck of the womb). Curettage refers to the “scraping” of the lining of the uterus (womb). Dilatation and curettage (D&C) is a procedure used to diagnose and treat conditions affecting the womb, to detect growths and to remove remaining tissue after a miscarriage or birth.

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Typical Hospital Stay


Type of anaesthetic


Covered by health insurance?


Procedure duration

10 minutes

Available to self-pay?


Find a consultant at Sussex Premier Health

Mr Waleed Yousef

Consultant Gynaecologist and Minimal Access Surgeon

Mr Jamal Zaidi

Consultant Gynaecologist

Your initial consultation

You’ll meet your consultant in one of our private consultation rooms, during this time you will be able to explain your medical history symptoms and raise any concerns that you might have.

We will also discuss with you whether any further diagnostic tests, such as scans or blood tests, are needed. Any additional costs will be discussed before further tests are carried out.

After this discussion, we will confirm if you can be booked straight in for the procedure.

Your initial consultation at Sussex Premier Health will be with one of our expert Cosmetic Surgeons.

The procedure

We understand that having surgery can potentially be a time of anxiety and worry. Our experienced and caring medical staff will be there for you every step of the way.

You will usually be given a general anaesthesia for dilatation and curettage (D&C) which means you’ll be asleep throughout the procedure and will not feel any pain. The operation typically lasts about 10 minutes.

Usually D&C is done as part of a procedure called a hysteroscopy which is an examination of the inside of the womb using a narrow tube-like telescope called a hysteroscope. This slim telescope is carefully passed through your vagina and cervix into your womb. During an operation your consultant will place an instrument called a speculum into your vagina so they can see your cervix. Your cervix will be gradually opened (dilated) using a series of rods of increasing thickness (dilators). The hysteroscope will be passed gently through your cervix into your womb. It has a small light and camera lens at its tip which sends pictures from the inside of your womb to a video screen.

Once your cervix has been opened tissue from the endometrium (the lining of your womb) can be removed either with an instrument called a curette or with suction.

If you have had a miscarriage the tissue that is removed during the treatment will be disposed of sensitively. Please let your consultant or nurse know if you have particular wishes about the disposal of this tissue. If the procedure is being carried out to help with a diagnosis the tissue that is removed will be sent to a laboratory for examination.


After the procedure, you will be taken to your room or comfortable area where you can rest and recuperate until we feel you’re ready to go home.

You will almost certainly be able to go home a few hours after the procedure. Once you’re ready to be discharged from hospital, you’ll need to arrange for a friend or family member to take you home as you won’t be able to drive.

For guidance on pain relief and your recovery time, please see our patient information sections below.


A dilatation and curettage (D&C) procedure can be used to diagnose and treat conditions such as abnormal bleeding or to detect cancerous and benign growths of the womb. If you have had a miscarriage or if some of your placenta has stayed inside your womb after giving birth you may need to have a type of D&C called an evacuation of retained products of conception (ERPC). This is to remove any remaining tissue and reduce your risk of developing an infection.

At Sussex Premier Health, your surgery will be performed by your consultant surgeon.

Our dedicated pre-assessment team will provide you with tailored advice to follow in the run up to your surgery.

After the procedure you may have some slight abdominal pain similar to period pain. If you need them continue taking painkillers as advised by the hospital.

We will provide you with a supply of all the medicines your consultant feels you need to take home with you after you’ve left hospital up to 14 days. This may be at an additional cost to some patients.

As well as some abdominal pain you may experience some vaginal bleeding for several days. Occasionally the bleeding and discharge continues for up to a month.

Follow your consultant’s advice about returning to your usual activities. You will probably be able to go back to work after a couple of days but this depends on the type of job you do. If you are pre-menopausal it is not unusual to spot until your next period which may be earlier or later than usual.

Your womb will be more at risk of infection until your cervix has returned to its normal size. For this reason you should avoid wearing tampons for your first period after the operation.

Most women experience no problems following a D&C but as with all medical treatments complications can occur.

Very occasionally the womb is perforated or damaged during a D&C operation. Most perforations heal without any treatment but in some cases further surgery may be needed.

It is also possible for the cervix to be damaged during the procedure.

If you experience any of these symptoms call us straight away:

  • prolonged heavy bleeding
  • severe pain that lasts for more than 48 hours
  • a swollen belly
  • raised temperature
  • vaginal discharge that is dark or smells unpleasant

Your consultant will talk to you about the possible risks and complications of having this procedure and how they apply to you. But everybody is different. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to us.

Interested in finding out more?

Speak to a member of our team

Phone01424 757400

Enquiry form

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