Endometriosis is a painful disease that attacks the female reproductive system, often resulting in infertility. Although there are hormonal treatments available to ease the symptoms, according to Endometriosis.org, many sufferers of the disease have to undergo surgery in order to treat the disease.
Here are four things you need to know about the different types of surgery available to those affected by endometriosis:
This is a type of surgery using a tool called a laparoscope, which is a thin instrument resembling a telescope that’s about 30 cm in length. The laparoscope is inserted into the pelvic cavity through the navel, lighting up and magnifying the area, enabling the gynecologist to see the organs and any endometriosis. A laparoscope usually has a second tube attached to contain the instruments used by the gynecologist during the procedure. The abdomen is inflated with a harmless gas, removing lesions by excising, or destroying them with heat.
This procedure can also be used to remove scar tissue caused by endometriosis, which can cause the patient quite a bit of pain. This procedure is used to avoid open surgery, however its effects can be short-term and some women experience regrowth.
Endometrial implants can be treated by using two techniques: coagulation and excision.
Excision removes the implants by cutting away the surrounding tissue using scissors or heat. This procedure does not damage the implants, meaning they can be sent for testing to confirm whether or not a patient has endometriosis.
Coagulation destroys the implants by burning them or vaporising them using a laser beam.
Laparotomy is abdominal surgery used to remove scar tissue caused by endometriosis. This is major surgery that includes the removal of the uterus, also known as a hysterectomy, and sometimes the removal of the ovaries and fallopian tubes. Doctors try to avoid removing the ovaries as they’re incredibly important to a woman’s health, but sometimes it’s necessary if they have been extremely damaged by endometriosis.
This is an extreme treatment approach and therefore generally regarded as a last resort, due to its complexity and irreversibility.
Surgery to sever pelvic nerves
There are two possible procedures that can sever the pelvic nerves in order to reduce the pain caused by endometriosis. The first is called presacral neurectomy, in which surgeons sever the nerves attached to the uterus.
The second is laparoscopic uterine nerve ablation, which involves the severing of the nerves in the ligaments attached to the uterus. However, there are clinical trials to suggest that this procedure is not effective in managing endometriosis pain, and is no longer a recommended treatment according to the AGOG.
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