Does cervical preparation before outpatient hysteroscopy reduce women's pain experience? A systematic review

Natalie Cooper, P Smith, KS Khan, Thomas Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

42 Citations (Scopus)


Background Studies examining the use of pharmaceutical (prostaglandins, antiprogestogens) and mechanical (osmotic dilators) dilatation of the cervix before hysteroscopy under general anaesthesia have produced conflicting results regarding their effect on cervical dilatation and trauma during the procedure. Objective To compare the effect on pain and need for cervical dilatation of various methods of cervical preparation before outpatient hysteroscopy. Search strategy MEDLINE, EMBASE and CINAHL were searched using a combination of the keywords 'hysteroscopy', 'vaginoscopy', 'cervical ripening', 'laminaria', 'progest*', 'prostaglandin', 'oestrogen' 'cervical preparation' and their associated Medical Subject Headings The Cochrane Library was searched using the keywords 'hysteroscopy' and 'cervical'. There were no limits or filters placed on the searches. Selection criteria Randomised controlled trials that examined women undergoing outpatient hysteroscopy, where the intervention was the use of cervical preparation versus a control or placebo and the outcome was pain assessment. Data collection and analysis Two reviewers independently selected trials. Data were extracted on pain, the effect on dilatation, adverse effects, trauma and feasibility. Data regarding pain and cervical dilatation were unsuitable for meta-analysis. Meta-analyses were performed for adverse effects and feasibility using the random effects models to calculate the Peto odds ratio. Results From 585 abstracts, six studies were selected for inclusion in the systematic review. The results suggest that there may be a benefit of using prostaglandins for postmenopausal women; however, there is no high-quality evidence that giving misoprostol before outpatient hysteroscopy reduces the pain experienced by women of reproductive age. There is some evidence that prostaglandins reduce the force and requirement for dilatation of the cervix beyond 5 mm. Author's conclusions There is no evidence to recommend the routine administration of mifepristone or misoprostol to women before outpatient hysteroscopy. Cervical priming with vaginal prostaglandins may be considered in postmenopausal women if using hysteroscopic systems >5 mm in diameter.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1292-1301
Number of pages10
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2011


  • mifepristone
  • office hysteroscopy
  • misoprostol
  • dilatation


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