Treating Endometriosis with Laparoscopic Surgery

Endometriosis is a painful disease that affects more than 70 million women and girls worldwide. With the advances made in detection and diagnosis, it is possible for these women and girls to receive treatment suitable to their specific needs.

The Use of Drugs as Treatment for Endometriosis

Along with drug treatments, which do not cure endometriosis but rather stave off the symptoms, there is the use of surgical treatment for the disease. Surgery can be either conservative or radical and is usually carried out in one of the following situations: for mild or moderate endometriosis, at the time of diagnosis; if medical (drug) treatment has not been successful; if the endometriosis is moderate to severe or has recurred.

Surgical Treatment

Conservative surgery is designed to return the pelvis to as near normal as possible by destroying endometrial deposits, removing ovarian cysts, and dividing adhesions, keeping as much healthy tissue intact as possible. Radical surgery, on the other hand, means the removal of both ovaries and is commonly done on women who have not been responsive to any other type of treatment, including conservative surgery.

What is a Laparoscopy?

Treatment at the time of diagnosis is fast becoming standard practice and is typically done when the endometriosis is mild to moderate. The type of surgery used in this instance is laparoscopy, a conservative type of surgery which works at restoring the pelvic anatomy as close to normal as possible. The laparoscope is inserted through a tiny incision below the navel. An instrument is attached to a light source, the abdomen is filled with gas in order to allow for movement and visual clarity, and the physician is then able to maneuver inside the cavity, removing growths and dividing adhesions where he can.

Dealing with Cysts and Adhesions

Using an electric current which passes down a probe, the surgeon is able to burn the endometriosis spots by diathermy. Fine adhesions can be cut with scissors and, since bleeding is minimal during a laparoscopy, additional adhesion development is reduced. Another advantage to this type of surgery is the fact that the hospital stay is much shorter. There is a marked improvement in the pain levels of women who undergo this type of surgery and there has been shown to be a 13 percent increase in pregnancy rate as well.

The Use of Laparoscopy and Associated Risks

Laparoscopy can also be used in the treatment of moderate to severe endometriosis by enabling the removal of larger cysts from the ovaries. Alternatively, the cysts can be emptied out through a hole made in them and the deposit can be destroyed. By removing the endometriosis and dividing the scar tissue, pelvic pain symptoms are reduced. Laparoscopy is generally very safe, but, as with all operations, it does carry with it some risk. Accidental injury to the bowel, bladder or blood vessels upon insertion of the scope could lead to hemorrhage. This risk is more advanced when there is the removal of large cysts or dividing of adhesions. Not all complications have serious implications, but they could result in a more extensive operation or a longer hospital stay.


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