What is endometriosis laparoscopic surgery?

Endometriosis Laparoscopic Surgery
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Laparoscopic surgery for endometriosis: Overview

Laparoscopy is the most common procedure used to diagnose and remove mild to moderate endometriosis. Instead of using a large incision in the belly, the surgeon inserts a lighted viewing tool called a laparoscope through a small incision. If better access is needed, the surgeon makes one or two more small incisions for inserting other surgical tools.

If your doctor recommends a laparoscopy, it will be to:

  • View the internal organs to look for signs of endometriosis and other possible problems. This is the only way that the doctor can be sure that you have the condition. But a "no endometriosis" diagnosis is never certain. Growths (implants) can be tiny or hidden from the surgeon's view.
  • Remove any visible endometriosis implants and scar tissue that may be causing pain or infertility. If an endometriosis cyst is found growing on an ovary (endometrioma), it is likely to be removed.

How well does laparoscopic surgery for endometriosis work?

Pain relief

Surgery relieves endometriosis pain for most people. But it doesn't guarantee long-lasting results. Pain can return a few years after surgery. Hormone therapy may be used after surgery. It may help prevent pain and new or returning endometriosis.

Infertility

If infertility is your primary concern, your doctor may use laparoscopy to look for and remove signs of endometriosis. Surgery may improve your chances of pregnancy. But in some severe cases, a fertility specialist may recommend skipping surgical removal and using in vitro fertilization.

Endometrioma

There are various ways of surgically treating an endometrioma, such as draining it, cutting out part of it, or removing it completely (cystectomy). These treatments may help relieve pain. But cystectomy is most likely to relieve pain for a longer time, prevent an endometrioma from growing back, and prevent the need for another surgery.

What are the risks of laparoscopic surgery for endometriosis?

Complications from the surgery are rare but include:

  • Pelvic infection.
  • Uncontrolled bleeding that results in the need for a larger abdominal incision (laparotomy) to stop the bleeding.
  • Scar tissue (adhesion) formation after surgery.
  • Damage to pelvic organs, such as the bowel or bladder.

What can you expect as you recover from laparoscopic surgery for endometriosis?

Laparoscopy is usually done at an outpatient facility. Sometimes a surgery requires a hospital stay of 1 day. You probably can return to your normal activities in 1 week, but it may take longer.

Why is laparoscopic surgery for endometriosis done?

Laparoscopy is used to examine the pelvic organs and to remove implants and scar tissue. This procedure is most often used for checking and treating:

  • Severe endometriosis and scar tissue that is thought to be interfering with internal organs, such as the bowel or bladder.
  • Endometriosis pain that has continued or that came back after hormone therapy.
  • Severe endometriosis pain. (Some people and their doctors choose to skip medicine treatment.)
  • An endometriosis cyst on an ovary (endometrioma).
  • Endometriosis as a possible cause of infertility. The surgeon usually removes any visible implants and scar tissue. This may improve fertility.

How is laparoscopic surgery for endometriosis done?

Laparoscopy is usually done under general anesthesia. But you can stay awake if you have spinal anesthesia. A gynecologist or surgeon performs the procedure.

For a laparoscopy, the belly is filled with air. The air is injected with a needle. The air pushes the belly wall away from the organs so that the surgeon can see them clearly. The surgeon then inserts a laparoscope through a small incision and examines the internal organs. The surgeon may make more incisions to insert tools to move internal organs and structures for better viewing.

If endometriosis or scar tissue needs to be removed, your surgeon will use one of several techniques. For instance, the surgeon may cut and remove the tissue (excision). Or the tissue may be destroyed with a laser beam or electric current (electrocautery).

After the procedure, the surgeon closes the incisions with a few stitches. Usually there is little or no scarring.

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