Endometriosis occurs when tissue that normally grows in the uterus grows elsewhere in the body. The growths can attach to the fallopian tubes, ovaries, the outside of the uterus, or other internal organs. The tissue may break down during the menstrual cycle, and painful adhesions may develop, or scar tissue. Untreated, it may also lead to internal bleeding, inflammation, and bowel or urinary disorders.
As many as 5.5 million women will experience endometriosis and have pain associated with it. The symptoms that are most likely to occur are pelvic pain and infertility. The most pain will be felt around the time of menstruation or during or after sex. The pain can be disabling, but some women with it will have very mild symptoms, or no symptoms at all.
Treatment for endometriosis will usually start with hormonal therapy. If that does not work, or if it does not work well, surgery will be recommended. Surgery for endometriosis will often be performed through laparoscopic surgery, which leaves little scaring and enables a faster recovery period.
While each woman’s case will be a little different, many find that their pain, or some of it, disappears right away. In fact, some women will wake up after the surgery and immediately notice that much of their pain is gone.
Laparoscopic surgery is used to detect and remove mild to moderate cases of endometriosis. Endometriosis can really only be detected after the instrument is inserted after a small incision is made. Before inserting the light, the doctor will inflate the abdomen with a gas. The light on it will enable the doctor to see and locate where the endometriosis is occurring. The surgeon will then proceed to cut out or destroy the lesions. This will be done using heat or a laser.
Endometriosis surgery will remove those places where it is detected, but it is possible that some may be missed. If the surgery is performed hastily or by an inexperienced surgeon, some of the endometriosis will be overlooked. This may result in another surgery being needed later on. Most patients recover after about a week.
During the surgery, scar tissue will be removed, particularly in areas where pain is being caused from the growths. Cysts will also be removed if seen to be causing infertility. A hysterectomy should not be necessary, nor should it be necessary to remove both the uterus and the ovaries, except in extreme cases where there are tumors and the patient no longer wants to have children.
In many cases, there will be a need for further surgery because the tissue can regrow, even when it is done correctly. This occurs in about 45 percent of women, and even about 15 percent of women that have a hysterectomy will also need further surgery.
When you need an expert surgeon to perform endometriosis surgery in New York City, Dr. Tamer Seckin, MD, has more than 30 years of experience. He is a board-certified gynecologist who specializes in performing minimally invasive laparoscopic endometriosis surgery. In addition, he is also the co-founder and medical director of the Endometriosis Foundation of America.