Surgery and Endometriosis

Surgery and Endometriosis Surgery and Endometriosis

The only sure way to diagnose endometriosis is with surgery such as laparoscopy. The surgeon’s goal is removal of as much of the scar tissue as possible without harming your pelvic organs.

Surgery and endometriosis
Your doctor may use either laparoscopy (outpatient surgery) or a laparotomy, which requires an abdominal incision and hospitalization to diagnose and treat endometriosis. Both laparoscopy and laparotomy can help diagnose endometriosis and remove abnormal tissue and adhesions. 

Some experts regard laparoscopy (belly-button surgery) as the most valuable single procedure in evaluating the female fertility patient.  But if your doctor selects laparotomy to diagnose endometriosis, it will involve making a larger cut in your abdomen. Some believe laparotomy is more effective for removal of scar tissue and adhesions.

Oftentimes, laparoscopy and laparotomy will help a woman to conceive on her own without requiring any additional fertility treatments. On the other hand, fertility treatments can often be effective without needing further surgery for endometriosis.  

What about a hysterectomy?
For women who have suffered severe damage from endometriosis or if they no longer wish to get pregnant, the doctor may recommend a hysterectomy.  With a hysterectomy, there is surgical removal of the uterus and, at times, the ovaries. 

If you must have a hysterectomy, you can still consider surrogacy and third party reproduction as viable options to having children.

Because each woman is different, you will need to talk openly with your doctor to understand the options for treating endometriosis and make the best decision for you.

What’s next after surgery?
Many women worry that they will need further surgery for endometriosis after the initial procedure.  Although surgery does improve the chances of conception, if a woman doesn’t get pregnant within a certain amount of time, doctors usually don’t suggest a second surgery to achieve a pregnancy. 

With any surgery, there are always complications to consider, along with recovery time.  Also, your doctor will discuss the cost of multiple procedures as well as the expense of fertility treatments. Together, you and your doctor can decide what’s best for your situation—so you have an increased chance of getting pregnant without spending your life savings in the process.

Ask a doctor in your area about endometriosis

This content is Copyright The American Fertility Association (AFA) 2010. This content is intended for personal use and may not be distributed or reproduced without AFA consent. Please contact info@theafa.org or visit theafa.org for more information.

Sources
  • Medscape: Diagnosis of Endometriosis: Imaging Techniques.
  • American Society of Reproductive Medicine: Endometriosis and Infertility: Can Surgery Help?
  • The American Fertility Association Fact Sheet: Important Questions For Your Doctor.