Dilation and curettage

Using this guide What's covered

Here you’ll find the answers to many of your questions about dilation and curettage (D&C). Learn how the procedure is done, what it may cost, what your recovery may be like, and more.

To see how this procedure is done, view our animation below. For personal insights, see our patient experience videos, in which HCF members talk frankly about their preparation, their procedure and their recovery.

Cost indicator

Discover the typical out-of-pocket costs HCF members can expect to pay for D&C and learn how your choice of doctor and hospital affect that cost.
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LEARN ABOUT Dilation and curettage

To see how this procedure is done, view our animation.

The basics

What is a dilation and curettage?

D&C is a procedure where the cervix (opening of the womb) is dilated to sample and/or remove tissue from inside your uterus (womb).  There are 2 common reasons you may have a D&C:

1) Diagnostic – to identify an underlying problem

2) Therapeutic – to treat a problem.

How is it done?

Your surgeon first dilates your cervix and then uses a spoon-shaped instrument called a curette to get some soft tissue from the lining of your uterus. Sometimes your surgeon may use a suction instrument to remove tissue instead. The tissue is then usually sent away to be examined by a pathologist under the microscope.

Why is it done?

D&C is used to diagnose conditions such as heavy periods, unusual vaginal bleeding, postmenopausal bleeding, pelvic pain, a suspicion of cancer, repeated miscarriages or infertility.

Your surgeon may do a D&C or suction curette after an incomplete miscarriage, termination of pregnancy, or after childbirth.

It’s different to hysteroscopy or hysterectomy

Hysteroscopy – an instrument with a light and camera is used to see the inside of your uterus and look for any abnormalities. Your surgeon can then either sample or remove any abnormal tissue. Hysteroscopy and D&C can be performed together.

Hysterectomy is surgery to remove your uterus or womb.

Where is it done?

D&C is normally done in a clinic or hospital.

How long does it take?

It usually takes between 15 and 30 minutes.

Who is involved?

  • gynaecologist
  • possibly an assistant surgeon
  • possibly an anaesthetist
  • nurses
  • possibly a pathologist.

The details


Alternatives to a D&C procedure

Are there other options?

Learn more

Results vs risks of D&C surgery

The benefits and potential complications of the procedure.

Learn more

Choosing a specialist

How to find a gynaecologist.

Learn more


Questions for your doctor

What you should be asking before going ahead with D&C.

Learn more

Preparing for your procedure

What you need to do before your procedure.

Learn more

Your anaesthetic options

About the anaesthetic and post-procedure pain relief.

Learn more 


Going to hospital

What to expect on the day of the procedure.

Learn more

Your procedure

What happens in the operating theatre?

Learn more



After your procedure

What happens before you go home.

Learn more


Taking precautions and resuming activities.

Learn more


People who’ve had dilation and curettage surgery talk about their preparation, hospital stay and recovery.


View videos

Give us feedback

Did you find this guide helpful? Let us know what you liked or what we can do to improve it. We'd love to hear from you.

To provide feedback, email us at wellbeing@hcf.com.au.

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Important information

Information is provided by HCF in good faith for the convenience of members. It is not an endorsement or recommendation of any form of treatment nor is it a substitute for medical advice, and you should rely on the advice of your treating doctors in relation to all matters concerning your health. Every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, however HCF takes no responsibility for any injury, loss, damage or other consequences of the use of this information.