Endometrial Ablation in the Management of Abnormal Uterine Bleeding Academic Article uri icon

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  • BACKGROUND: Abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB) is the direct cause of a significant health care burden for women, their families, and society as a whole. Up to 30% of women will seek medical assistance for the problem during their reproductive years. OBJECTIVE: To provide current evidence-based guidelines on the techniques and technologies used in endometrial ablation (EA), a minimally invasive technique for the management of AUB of benign origin. METHODS: Members of the guideline committee were selected on the basis of individual expertise to represent a range of practical and academic experience in terms of both location in Canada and type of practice, as well as subspecialty expertise and general background in gynaecology. The committee reviewed all available evidence in the English medical literature, including published guidelines, and evaluated surgical and patient outcomes for the various EA techniques. Recommendations were established by consensus. EVIDENCE: Published literature was retrieved through searches of MEDLINE and The Cochrane Library in 2013 and 2014 using appropriate controlled vocabulary and key words (endometrial ablation, hysteroscopy, menorrhagia, heavy menstrual bleeding, AUB, hysterectomy). RESULTS were restricted to systematic reviews, randomized control trials/controlled clinical trials, and observational studies written in English from January 2000 to November 2014. Searches were updated on a regular basis and incorporated in the guideline to December 2014. Grey (unpublished) literature was identifies through searching the websites of health technology assessment and health technology-related agencies, clinical practice guideline collections, clinical trial registries, and national and international medical specialty societies. VALUES: The quality of evidence in this document was rated using the criteria described in the Report of the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care (Table 1). RESULTS: This document reviews the evidence regarding the available techniques and technologies for EA, preoperative and postoperative care, operative set-up, anaesthesia, and practical considerations for practice. BENEFITS, HARMS, AND COSTS: Implementation of the guideline recommendations will improve the provision of EA as an effective treatment of AUB. Following these recommendations would allow the surgical procedure to be performed safely and maximize success for patients. CONCLUSIONS: EA is a safe and effective minimally invasive option for the treatment of AUB of benign etiology. Summary Statements 1. Endometrial ablation is a safe and effective minimally invasive surgical procedure that has become a well-established alternative to medical treatment or hysterectomy to treat abnormal uterine bleeding in select cases. (I) 2. Endometrial preparation can be used to facilitate resectoscopic endometrial ablation (EA) and can be considered for some non-resectoscopic techniques. For resectoscopic EA, preoperative endometrial thinning results in higher short-term amenorrhea rates, decreased irrigant fluid absorption, and shorter operative time than no treatment. (I) 3. Non-resectoscopic techniques are technically easier to perform than resectoscopic techniques, have shorter operative times, and allow the use of local rather than general anaesthesia. However, both techniques have comparable patient satisfaction and reduction of heavy menstrual bleeding. (I) 4. Both resectoscopic and non-resectoscopic endometrial ablation (EA) have low complication rates. Uterine perforation, fluid overload, hematometra, and cervical lacerations are more common with resectoscopic EA; perioperative nausea/vomiting, uterine cramping, and pain are more common with non-resectoscopic EA. (I) 5. All non-resectoscopic endometrial ablation devices available in Canada have demonstrated effectiveness in decreasing menstrual flow and result in high patient satisfaction. The choice of which device to use depends primarily on surgical judgement and the availability of resources. (I) 6. The use of local anaesthetic and blocks, oral analgesia, and conscious sedation allows for the provision of non-resectoscopic EA in lower resource-intense environments including regulated non-hospital settings. (II-2) 7. Low-risk patients with satisfactory pain tolerance are good candidates to undergo endometrial ablation in settings outside the operating room or in free-standing surgical centres. (II-2) 8. Both resectoscopic and non-resectoscopic endometrial ablation are relatively safe procedures with low complication rates. The complications perforation with potential injury to contiguous structures, hemorrhage, and infection. (II-2) 9. Combined hysteroscopic sterilization and endometrial ablation can be safe and efficacious while favouring a minimally invasive approach. (II-2) Recommendations 1. Preoperative assessment should be comprehensive to rule out any contraindication to endometrial ablation. (II-2A) 2. Patients should be counselled about the need for permanent contraception following endometrial ablation. (II-2B) 3. Recommended evaluations for abnormal uterine bleeding, including but not limited to endometrial sampling and an assessment of the uterine cavity, are necessary components of the preoperative assessment. (II-2B) 4. Clinicians should be vigilant for complications unique to resectoscopic endometrial ablation such as those related to fluid distention media and electrosurgical injuries. (III-A) 5. For resectoscopic endometrial ablation, a strict protocol should be followed for fluid monitoring and management to minimize the risk of complications of distension medium overload. (III-A) 6. If uterine perforation is suspected to have occurred during cervical dilatation or with the resectoscope (without electrosurgery), the procedure should be abandoned and the patient should be closely monitored for signs of intraperitoneal hemorrhage or visceral injury. If the perforation occurs with electrosurgery or if the mechanism of perforation is uncertain, abdominal exploration is warranted to obtain hemostasis and rule out visceral injury. (III-B) 7. With resectoscopic endometrial ablation, if uterine perforation has been ruled out acute hemorrhage may be managed by using intrauterine Foley balloon tamponade, injecting intracervical vasopressors, or administering rectal misoprostol. (III-B) 8. If repeat endometrial ablation (EA) is considered following non-resectoscopic or resectoscopic EA, it should be performed by a hysteroscopic surgeon with direct visualization of the cavity. Patients should be counselled about the increased risk of complications with repeat EA. (II-2A) 9. If significant intracavitary pathology is present, resectoscopic endometrial ablation combined with hysteroscopic myomectomy or polypectomy should be considered in a non-fertility sparing setting. (II-3A).


  • Laberge, Philippe
  • Leyland, Nicholas
  • Murji, Ally
  • Fortin, Claude
  • Martyn, Paul
  • Vilos, George
  • Leyland, Nicholas
  • Wolfman, Wendy
  • Allaire, Catherine
  • Awadalla, Alaa
  • Dunn, Sheila
  • Heywood, Mark
  • Lemyre, Madeleine
  • Marcoux, Violaine
  • Potestio, Frank
  • Rittenberg, David
  • Singh, Sukhbir
  • Yeung, Grace

publication date

  • April 2015