Types of surgery

Find out about the types of surgery for molar pregnancy. 

Surgery overview

A molar pregnancy occurs when the fertilisation of the egg by the sperm goes wrong and leads to the growth of abnormal cells or clusters of water filled sacs inside the womb. It is a type of gestational trophoblastic tumour (GTT). 

You will need to have surgery to confirm the diagnosis of a molar pregnancy. After surgery, doctors called pathologists examine the tissue from your womb under a microscope.

You usually only need minor surgery to remove the molar pregnancy, or the tissue that’s left in your womb after a miscarriage. This is usually an operation called a D and C. Apart from follow up tests this is usually all the treatment you will need. A hysterectomy (removal of the womb) is sometimes needed but this is very rare. There is information about these operations below.

Dilatation and curettage (D and C)

Most women with a molar pregnancy will only need this simple operation. You have the operation under general anaesthetic in hospital. Once you are asleep, the surgeon opens up (dilates) the entrance to the womb (cervix) and uses gentle suction to remove as much of the tumour as possible.

The doctor then uses a small instrument called a curette to scrape the lining of the womb and clear away any remaining molar tissue. So this operation is sometimes known as a scrape. For a partial molar pregnancy, your doctors may give you a drug to make your womb contract and help to push out the abnormal tissue.

You will stay in hospital for at least a few hours after a D and C. Your doctor may want you to stay overnight to give you time to recover after the general anaesthetic.

Removing your womb (hysterectomy)

An operation to remove your womb is called a hysterectomy. This is very rarely used to treat a molar pregnancy. But your doctor might consider this operation if: 

  • the molar pregnancy is causing a lot of bleeding from your womb
  • you already have a condition of the womb, such as fibroids
  • you don’t want to have any more children

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