Endometrial Biopsy: Purpose, Procedure, and Risks

An endometrial biopsy is a way for your doctor to check for problems in your uterus. That’s the pear-shaped organ in your lower belly that holds a baby during pregnancy.The procedure takes just a few minutes and is it’s very safe.

Doctor may do this type of biopsy if your Pap test shows that you have “precancerous” cells in your uterus. She could also suggest one if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Heavy or long periods
  • Periods that don’t come at the same time every month
  • No periods
  • Bleeding after menopause
  • Bleeding after taking a breast cancer drug called tamoxifen
  • A thickened uterine lining

An endometrial biopsy can’t fix or stop any of these symptoms. But it can help your doctor learn what may be wrong.


The procedure usually takes 10 to 15 minutes.

You’ll lay on an exam table with your feet resting in stirrups, just like you would for a Pap smear. Your doctor will insert a device called a speculum into your vagina. This holds it open during the procedure.

After your cervix is cleaned, your doctor will numb the area. She can do this with a special spray or by injecting medicine.

Next, she’ll insert a very thin, flexible tool to gently suction out a tissue sample from the lining (endometrium) of your uterus. This will then be sent to a lab so it can be looked at under a microscope and tested for abnormal cells like cancer.