Dilatation and Curettage

Dilation and curettage (D&C) refers to the dilation (widening/opening) of the cervix and surgical removal of part of the lining of the uterus and/or contents of the uterus by scraping and scooping (curettage). It is a therapeutic gynecological procedure as well as the most often used method of first trimester abortion.

D&C normally refers to a procedure involving a curette, also called sharp curettage. However, some sources use the term D&C to refer more generally to any procedure that involves the processes of dilation and removal of uterine contents, which includes the more common suction curettage procedures of manual and electric vacuum aspiration.

The first step in a D&C is to dilate the cervix, usually done a few hours before the surgery. The woman is usually put under general anesthesia before the procedure begins. A curette, a metal rod with a handle on one end and a sharp loop on the other, is inserted into the uterus through the dilated cervix. The curette is used to gently scrape the lining of the uterus and remove the tissue in the uterus. This tissue is examined for completeness (in the case of abortion or miscarriage treatment) or pathologically for abnormalities (in the case of treatment for abnormal bleeding).