Often laparoscopic surgery is suggested by your doctor, especially since surgery is the only way to diagnose Endometriosis and often the best treatment for Endometriosis symptoms. Surgery still will not ‘cure’ you but sometimes it can cause the symptoms to subside and almost seem ‘dormant’ for a period of time. Below there are some notes on surgery for you to consider when deciding for or against surgery. Surgical options will be listed as well as additional resources to help you research more. Be sure to see the Surgery Tips on this website, as well as the other Websites and Associations to further your research!
Surgery for Endometriosis:
- Is the only way to officially diagnose Endometriosis.
- The Endometriosis tissue must be biopsied for an official diagnosis.
- Can help to prepare your body for pregnancy (if it’s removed properly)
- Can determine what stage of Endometriosis you have. There are 4 stages.
- Tells you the location of your Endometriosis which is helpful for further treatment.
- Many women require multiple surgeries in their life. To minimize the amount of surgeries, it’s important to find an experienced Laparoscopic Excision Surgeon.
- Some patients don’t get pain relief from surgery, but it’s suggested to be less than 30%.
- The success of surgery relies on the methods of removal and the skill of the surgeon.
Different Kinds of Surgery for Endometriosis:
- Laparoscopy: Opposed to traditional surgery, a Laparoscopy is a minimally invasive surgery that uses tiny incisions and a Laparascope tool to see inside your body.
- Diagnostic Laparoscopy: may be used to diagnose Endometriosis. The surgeon will look inside to see and/or biopsy the Endometriosis to confirm the diagnosis. Beware that sometimes this means the surgeon does NOT intend to actually remove the disease. Or like many of us, we’re told, if it’s ‘easy’ to find they will remove it. This may be a sign of an inexperienced surgeon (for us at least).
- Robotic Assisted Laparoscopy: is a new tool used to visualize and remove Endo. It can be used for Excision and Ablation. It also relies on the skill of the surgeon. Since this is still new as of 2013, it is advised that you do extensive research before deciding.
- Laparotomy: is used for more advanced cases of Endometriosis when the disease is too severe or spread out for a laparoscope. These incisions may be closer to 6 inches as opposed to about 1 cm for laparoscope incisions because they need more room/reach.
- Hysterectomy: is the removal of your uterus as well as other organs related to the uterus. It’s suggested you research the benefits vs disadvantages of Hysterectomy before making this choice. A Hysterectomy does NOT guarantee pain relief, it is not a guaranteed cure-there is no cure. There is much debate about leaving in the ovaries, cervix, etc as it can leave some of the disease behind. Please also research this further.
Surgical Techniques for Removal of Endometriosis:
Laparoscopic Excision: Provided by the Endometriosis Foundation
- Laparoscopic excision removes all forms of the disease, restores normal organ placement and function, and treats pelvic pain and infertility. With laparoscopic excision, patients can expect a great deal of their symptoms to disappear or be greatly reduced. In most cases, even in higher stages, excision surgery can successfully resolve infertility as well. Laparoscopic excision involves finding and excising, or cutting out, all forms of endometriosis. Currently only a small number of advanced gynecologic surgeons perform this life-changing operation
Ablation, Cauterizing, Vaporizing, Fulgeration:Provided by the Endo Found
- Other Laparoscopic Surgery: Other surgical techniques exist, including surgical ablation, cauterization, fulguration or vaporization through the laparoscope. These types of laparoscopic surgeries involve the removal of endometriosis on the surface of different tissues and organs in the pelvic region but do not go as deeply into tissue as laparoscopic excision. These kinds of incomplete removal may offer temporary relief of endometriosis, though studies have placed recurrence rates at 40-60% within the very first year following these types of surgery.
For sources and additional information to assist you on further research:
Endometriosis Foundation of America (Scroll to bottom)