Mercy Hospital & Health Services Contact Us
MyChart
About Mercy
Join Our Team
set font size large set font size medium set font size small
email this page print this page
Health Illustrated Encyclopedia Banner
Health Illustrated Encyclopedia

Disclaimer:
Our Health Information Database is provided by A.D.A.M. the leading provider of electronic and printed information for professionals and consumers in healthcare and industry. It provides authoritative, reliable content written and reviewed by an editorial board who represent a variety of specialty areas. This board reviews and evaluates all healthcare information to ensure it is accurate, reliable, and can be used with complete confidence. And now you have access to the same authoritative, trusted clinical information relied upon by health professionals around the world.
Endometrial biopsy

Definition

Endometrial biopsy is a procedure in which a tissue sample is taken from the lining of the uterus (endometrium), and is checked under a microscope for any abnormal cells or signs of cancer.

Alternative Names

Biopsy - endometrium

How the test is performed

This procedure may be done with or without anesthesia. You will lie on your back with your feet in stirrups.

The health care provider will do a pelvic examination, and will insert an instrument (speculum) into the vagina to hold it open and see the cervix.

The cervix is cleaned with an antiseptic liquid and then grasped with an instrument (tenaculum) to hold the uterus steady. A device called a cervical dilator may be needed to stretch the cervical canal if there is tightness (stenosis). Then a small, hollow plastic tube is gently passed into the uterine cavity.

Gentle suction removes a sample of the lining. The tissue sample and instruments are removed. A specialist called a pathologist examines the sample under a microscope.

How to prepare for the test

There is no special preparation for the biopsy. You may want to take ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) 1 hour before the procedure to reduce cramping.

How the test will feel

The instruments may feel cold. You may feel some pain when the cervix is grasped. You may have some cramping as the instruments enter the uterus and the sample is collected.

Why the test is performed

The test is done to find the cause of:

  • Abnormal menstrual periods (heavy, prolonged, or irregular bleeding)
  • Bleeding after menopause
  • Bleeding from taking hormone therapy medications
  • Thickened uterine lining seen on ultrasound

The test is usually done in women over age 35.

This test can also be used to test for endometrial cancer. Sometimes, it is used as part of the diagnosis in women who have been unable to become pregnant (see infertility).

Normal Values

The biopsy is normal if the cells in the sample have no abnormalities.

What abnormal results mean

Abnormal menstrual periods may be caused by:

If the lining is being tested for infertility, the sample may determine if hormones are properly stimulating the lining so that the fertilized egg can implant.

Other conditions under which the test may be performed:

What the risks are

  • Infection
  • Making a hole in (perforating) the uterus or tearing the cervix (rarely)
  • Prolonged bleeding
  • Slight spotting

Special considerations

References

Katz VL. Diagnostic procedures. Imaging, endometrial sampling, endoscopy: indications and contraindications, complications. In: Katz VL, Lentz GM, Lobo RA, Gershenson DM, eds. Comprehensive Gynecology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby; 2007: chap 11.

View Spanish Version

Encyclopedia Home
Drug Note Home
Health Information Home

Images

Care Points
    Read More

    Review Date: 9/2/2009

    Review By: Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Redmond, Washington: Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

    The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2010 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

    www.adam.com
    www.mercyweb.org
    follow us online
    facebook youtube


    Contact us
    Home  |  Sitemap

    Disclaimer & Terms of Use  |  Privacy Statement  |  Notice of Privacy Practices
    Copyright ©2013 Mercy. Last modified 2/16/2011