Surgery For Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a disease that results in the abnormal growth of uterine cells in locations outside the uterus. This tissue build-up usually occurs on the walls of the pelvis and can occur on the ovaries and the fallopian tubes. However, endometrial implants can occur in other areas such as the vagina, the urinary tract and the gastrointestinal system. Scar tissue, adhesions, and structural abnormalities can develop resulting in infertility.

Endometriosis may be treated with hormones or drugs that block hormones, which can act as contraceptives. Therefore, many women attempting to conceive choose to treat endometriosis surgically, often in combination with drug therapy.

Laparoscopy

A surgical procedure called a laparoscopy is most commonly used to remove endometrial implants and adhesions. A small incision is made beneath the navel and a thin fibre-optic scope is inserted to examine the pelvic area. The affected tissue is then removed through microsurgery or by laser surgery.

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Laparotomy

In severe cases involving extensive lesions or scarring, especially around the bowel or bladder, endometriosis may be treated through a more invasive surgical procedure called a laparotomy. A laparotomy, also performed under general anaesthesia, requires a wide abdominal incision and conventional surgical instruments are used. The recovery period for this major surgery is about six weeks. This procedure may be best suited for patients with severe pain who have completed their families, rather than those seeking treatment for infertility.

When the pain of endometriosis is the primary concern, surgical procedures such as a uteral sacral nerve ablation (severing the nerves to the uterus to reduce pain) or a presacral neurectomy (severing sensory nerves leading to the pelvis) can be performed.

Endometriosis often recurs over time, even after successful surgery. When a woman no longer desires to be fertile, a hysterectomy with removal of the ovaries may be recommended in order to permanently treat the condition.

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