When placed in the closed cervix, a osmotic dilator absorbs
moisture from the tissues surrounding the cervix and swells, opening the cervix
slowly and with little discomfort. Two common types of osmotic dilators are a
laminaria, a small tube made of dried seaweed, and
synthetic dilator, a man-made sterile, dry
Unless a woman is in labor before childbirth, the cervical
opening is very narrow. An osmotic dilator is commonly used to gently open the
cervix before a gynecologic procedure that requires the cervix to be open,
allowing access to the uterus and fallopian tubes. Cervical dilation reduces
the risk of injury to the cervix during such a procedure.
the cervical dilation with laminaria occurs in the first 6 hours. But maximum
dilation usually occurs 12 to 24 hours after the laminaria is placed. This means
that laminaria placement may be done the day before a procedure. Osmotic
dilators may be sequentially added to or replaced to increase the cervical
A synthetic dilator opens the cervix in less time and can
be used several hours before a procedure.
August 31, 2012
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Rebecca H. Allen, MD, MPH - Obstetrics and Gynecology & Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
To learn more visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2013 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
We are happy to take your appointment request over the phone, or, you may fill out an online request form.
Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general informational purposes only and SHOULD NOT be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, evaluation or care from your physician or other qualified health care provider.