Endometriosis And Laparoscopic Surgery

More than 70 million women and girls worldwide are affected with the painful symptoms of endometriosis. These women got some much needed publicity for their condition when two stars of ‘Dancing With The Stars' were diagnosed with endometriosis. Julianne Hough underwent surgery and Lacey Schwimmer is being treated with medication for the condition.

Drug therapy does not cure endometriosis although it does stave off the symptoms of the disease. Surgery, either conservative or radical, is usually carried out in one of the following situations: at the time of diagnosis for mild or moderate endometriosis; the failure of drug treatment; recurrence of moderate to severe endometriosis.

Conservative surgery endeavors to restore the pelvis to as near normal condition as possible by destroying endometrial deposits, removing ovarian cysts, and dividing adhesions while keeping as much healthy tissue intact as possible. Radical surgery, reserved for cases where the woman has not been responsive to any other type of treatment, indicates the removal of both ovaries.

It is quickly becoming standard practice to perform surgical treatment at the time of the diagnosis, when the endometriosis is mild to moderate. Laparoscopy, a conservative type of surgery used to restore the pelvis to as close to normal condition as possible, is the preferred method of surgical treatment at this stage. A tiny incision is made just below the navel and the laparoscope is inserted. The instrument is attached to a light source and the abdomen is filled with gas. This allows for movement and visual clarity so the physician is able to manoeuvre inside the cavity, removing growths and dividing adhesions where possible.

Diathermy, an electric current which passes down a probe, is used by the surgeon to burn the endometriosis spots and scissors are used to cut fine adhesions. Bleeding is minimal during a laparoscopy which means that additional adhesion development is less likely to happen. A shorter hospital stay is an added bonus with this type of surgery. Along with a marked improvement in the pain levels of women who undergo laparoscopic surgery, there is a 13 percent increase in the rate of pregnancies following the surgery.

Laparoscopy can be used in more severe cases of endometriosis by enabling the removal of larger cysts from the ovaries. An alternative method of dealing with cysts is to puncture and empty them through a hole, then destroy the deposit. Pain symptoms are reduced through the removal of endometriosis and division of the scar tissue.

Even though laparoscopy is generally safe it is surgery and, as with all surgeries, it does carry some risk. Hemorrhage may result from accidental injury to the bowel, bladder or blood vessels upon insertion of the scope. The risk is increased when larger cysts are removed or if there is the dividing of adhesions. Serious implications do not necessarily accompany all surgeries, but they may result in a longer hospital stay or a more extensive operation.


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