The combined use of endometrial ablation or resection and levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system in women with heavy menstrual bleeding: A systematic review

T.J. Oderkerk*, M.M.A. van de Kar, C.H.M. van der Zanden, P.M.A.J. Geomini, M.C. Herman, M.Y. Bongers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal(Systematic) Review article peer-review


Introduction Despite endometrial ablation/resection being a very successful treatment for women with heavy menstrual bleeding, re-intervention with additional surgery is needed in 12%-25% of cases. Introducing a levonorgestrel-intrauterine system (LNG-IUS) immediately after ablation could preserve the integrity of the uterine cavity and suppress the regenerated or non-ablated endometrial tissue. Therefore, this combined treatment can perhaps lower the re-intervention rate. The aim of this systematic review was to assess the impact of the combined treatment. Material and methods The MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Cochrane library were systematically searched. No language restrictions were applied. All types of studies were included reporting on the results of endometrial ablation or resection combined with immediate insertion of LNG-IUS for treatment of heavy menstrual bleeding. The primary outcome was the number of hysterectomies after the ablation procedure. Secondary outcomes included re-intervention rates, removals of LNG-IUS, bleeding pattern, patient satisfaction, adverse effects, and complications. Our protocol was registered in PROSPERO, an international prospective register of systematic reviews under registration number CRD42020151384. Results Six studies with a retrospective design and one case series with a follow-up duration varying from 6 to 55 months were included. In total, 427 women were treated with the combined treatment. The studies described a lower hysterectomy and re-intervention rate after combined treatment compared with treatment with endometrial ablation/resection alone. Hysterectomy rate varied from 0% to 11% after combined treatment compared with 9.4% to 24% after endometrial ablation/resection alone. Bleeding patterns and patient satisfaction appeared to be in favor of the combined treatment group. No intra- or post-operative complications or complications in the removal of LNG-IUS were described. The most reported adverse effects after combined treatment were weight gain, mood changes, and headaches. An additional 11 studies with only an abstract available substantiated these findings. All the included studies had poor methodological quality. Conclusions Based on the available literature, inserting an LNG-IUS immediately after endometrial ablation/resection seems to lower the hysterectomy and re-intervention rates compared with ablation/resection alone. However, as only limited observational studies of low methodological quality are available, high-quality research is necessary to confirm the findings of this systematic review.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1779-1787
Number of pages9
JournalActa Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica
Issue number10
Early online date2021
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


  • endometrial ablation
  • endometrial resection
  • heavy menstrual bleeding
  • levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system
  • menorrhagia
  • post-ablation tubal sterilization syndrome


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