Endometriosis is a painful condition in which tissue grows, abnormally, outside of the uterus. The effects of endometriosis can be severe, causing fertility issues and major discomfort during menstrual bleeding.
Laparoscopic treatment of endometriosis involves a thin viewing instrument, inserted through the abdomen, which can extract tissue and treat endometriosis.
What is Endometriosis?
Before getting into the detailed process of laparoscopic treatment for endometriosis, it’s helpful to understand more about the condition itself and its effects.
Normally, in the menstrual cycle, the uterine lining thickens; in the absence of pregnancy, this tissue breaks down and leaves the body during menstrual bleeding. As mentioned above, endometriosis is when tissue begins to grows outside of the uterus.
Endometriosis becomes problematic as tissue not only becomes trapped but it still acts as normal tissue, meaning it breaks down on a monthly basis with nowhere for the tissue to exit.
This is what causes the serious pain that individuals with endometriosis experience. In the UK, roughly 1.5 million people live with the condition.
Most commonly, identifying the condition comes when individuals have rough periods with severe pain and cramps over a period of time.
However, there are other symptoms..
- Discomfort during intercourse
- Pain urinating
- Fatigue and constipation during menstruation.
- Lower back/abdominal pain
The procedure, usually performed by a gynaecologist or surgeon, is considered low-risk and is minimally invasive. Patients can leave the hospital the same day, but sometimes they stay overnight. Before surgery, individuals are told not to eat or drink for 10 hours.
Once the patient is under general anaesthetic, a small incision is made into the abdomen. The abdomen is then filled with carbon dioxide, lifting the abdomen wall from the bowel.
A long and thin instrument with a tiny, lighted camera, known as a laparoscope, is inserted. Using this tool, endometriosis can be diagnosed.
The surgeon can now look directly at the internal tissue and perform various procedures to treat the endometriosis.
If it is the best course of action, the surgeon will take a small sample of the tissue for testing; this is known as a biopsy.
Aside from a biopsy, the surgeon can remove endometriosis using an excision. It’s also possible for the surgeon to use endometrial ablation. This is where the tissue is frozen or destroyed using a laser.
Following the procedure, it’s common for there to be little or no scarring after the abdominal incisions are stitched back up.
As with any surgery, there are risks. Complications in laparoscopic treatment of endometriosis are rare, but possible. These include bowel damage, pelvic infection and formation of scar tissue after surgery.
Following the operation, it’s vital that individuals let their body rest for a number of days. It’s common for excess gas to still be in the body during this period; this is normal but can lead to discomfort. Vaginal bleeding is also likely after the surgery. Individuals should also be wary of overdoing it when turning, bending or stretching as not to aggravate the stitches in the abdomen.
The first period after the operation can be a painful one. However, this is normal as the body is continuing to internally heal. A return to normal life is expected in roughly 2 weeks.
This article is intended to inform and give insight but not treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a doctor. Always seek medical advice with any questions regarding a medical condition.