Study objective: To assess the appearance of the endometrial cavity after microwave endometrial ablation.
Design: Prospective observational study.
Setting: GuangDong Women's and Children's Hospital, GuangDong, China.
Patients: A total of 349 patients who underwent microwave endometrial ablation from January 2000 through August 2008 were followed up for 1 month to 8 years. At follow-up in 2007 and 2008, patients were advised of this clinical study and were randomly selected for participation if they agreed to undergo outpatient hysteroscopy to assess the uterine cavity during follow-up visits. Fifty three patients (median [range] age, 43.1 [33-53] years) were recruited into the study at the time of endometrial ablation.
Intervention: Outpatient hysteroscopy.
Main results: Within the first 3 months after ablation, outpatient hysteroscopy revealed varying amounts of necrotic tissue from the endometrium and superficial myometrium of the uterus. Six months postablation, a granulomatous reaction and fibrosis were present. A fibrotic cavity was also evident, and menstrual flow was reduced or had ceased. One year after ablation, hysteroscopy demonstrated a fibrotic cavity with myofibrous scars. Most patients developed amenorrhea at this time. Two years or more postablation, a second hysteroscopy demonstrated various types of intrauterine adhesions in 28 of the 53 women (52.8%). A cervical adhesion was observed in 1 patient (1.9%), focal adhesions in the fundal area in 12 (22.6%), a narrowed and scarred uterine cavity with bilateral stenotic tubal ostia in 11 (20.7%), and complete obliteration of the cavity in 4 (7.5%). Of these 28 women, 22 had amenorrhea, 3 had vaginal spotting during menstruation, and 2 had hypomenorrhea. Of those without intrauterine adhesions, only 5 had amenorrhea, 10 had vaginal spotting, and 8 had hypomenorrhea.
Conclusion: The hysteroscopic appearance of the uterine cavity after microwave endometrial ablation varies considerably. In this study, the menstrual outcome was correlated with postablation uterine cavity appearance.
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