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Gynaecology: Minor procedures clinic


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This information is for people whose GP has referred them to the gynaecology outpatient department, and they now have an appointment in the minor procedures clinic.

The clinic is held in: The McNair Centre, Ground floor, Southwark Wing, Guy’s Hospital.

Minor procedures clinic

This is a one-stop clinic for consultation, diagnosis and treatment.

You will see either a doctor or nurse.

They will carry out any investigations needed to diagnose your problem.

They will also explain what could be wrong, and offer you advice or treatment.

All advice and treatment in the clinic is completely confidential.

The clinic sees people about:

  • unusual or heavy vaginal bleeding (such as bleeding in between periods, after intercourse, or after the menopause)
  • irregular periods
  • cervical polyps (small growths of tissue on the neck of your womb)
  • heavy or bad smelling vaginal discharge
  • problems with the vagina or vulva
  • problems with the contraceptive method IUCD (intrauterine contraceptive device, or 'the coil')
  • assessment for sterilisation (an operation to permanently prevent pregnancy)

Before your appointment

It is important that you are not pregnant when we carry out our investigations.

If you are sexually active and of child-bearing age, you must use contraception before your appointment.

If you are pregnant, we might not be able to complete your investigations during the appointment.

If you think that you will be having your period on the date of your appointment, or you are bleeding on the day, please call one of the nurses, as this can affect some of the investigations.

If you have any concerns about the appointment please contact the nurses.

  • You can eat and drink as usual before your appointment.
  • With some investigations, you might have some pain. Take painkillers about 1 hour before your appointment.
  • You might be asked to complete a questionnaire or diary before coming to the clinic (such as details of the medicine you take, or a menstrual diary). 
  • Some investigations, for example taking a biopsy, can cause bleeding. The bleeding will not be heavy, but will last a few days. It is important not to use tampons for this bleed, so please bring a sanitary pad or panty liner with you.

Please allow 3 to 4 hours for your consultation, investigations and treatment. The time needed will depend on the investigations you have.

Investigations at the clinic

You will have a physical examination. You might also have the following investgiations.

For some investigations, we will give you a local anaesthetic. A local anaesthetic uses an injection to numb a part of your body.

For abnormal vaginal bleeding or irregular periods:

  • an ultrasound scan
  • blood tests
  • a biopsy of the lining of your womb
  • a hysteroscopy

For heavy or bad smelling discharge:

  • swabs taken from the neck of the womb (cervix)
  • burning (cauterisation) of the cervix, under local anaesthetic

For cysts, vaginal or vulva problems:

  • removal of cysts under local anaesthetic

For problems with contraceptive methods (IUCD or IUS):

  • an ultrasound scan
  • a speculum examination
  • a hysteroscopy

An ultrasound placing a small probe into your vagina. It produces a black and white image of your womb and ovaries on a screen. This does not hurt.

A speculum examination is similar to a smear test. An instrument called a speculum is used to see your cervix. Swabs might also be taken.

A hysteroscopy passing a telescope-like instrument with a camera on the end through your cervix to look at the inside of your womb. This gives a colour image. Sometimes, we might need to give you an injection of local anaesthetic into the cervix, which might sting.

Biopsies are small samples of tissue which might be taken from your cervix and the lining of your womb. All biopsies are sent to be examined under a microscope. We will either give you a follow-up appointment, or ask you to telephone us for the results.

Cauterisation is where a layer of cells is removed by heat under local anaesthetic.

If you are very anxious about any of these investigations, you might be able to have some of them under a general anaesthetic (where you will be put to sleep).

We cannot do this during clinic times, but can talk to you about this at your first appointment.

Going home

We suggest that you plan for someone to help you home, and that you take the rest of the day off work.



Resource number: 1655/VER6

Last reviewed: May 2020 | Next review: May 2023

A list of sources is available on request.

Where next?

 Contact us

If you have any questions or concerns, contact the gynaecology helpline. 

Phone 020 7188 3023

Wednesday between 2pm and 4pm.

If you need to change or cancel your appointment, contact the outpatient supervisor.

Phone 020 7188 3687

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