In some cases, women suffering from endometriosis may find that they need to undergo surgery if their disease symptoms are too severe or if they are unable to take medication to relieve the pain caused by their condition. Minimally invasive surgery can be an excellent choice of treatment in many circumstances.

What Is This Disease?

Endometriosis is a disease in which tissue similar to that which normally lines your uterus (the endometrium) grows outside of it. It affects as many as 176 million women worldwide, according to estimates. This condition can have painful and detrimental effects on women's reproductive health.

What Causes Endometriosis?

The cause of endometriosis is still a mystery. However, studies have linked several factors to an increased risk of developing endometriosis, including a family history of endometriosis and having your first period at an early age. There’s also some evidence that certain fertility drugs may increase your risk, although most doctors agree that using these medications will not automatically lead to endometriosis.

Diagnosing Endometriosis

If you think you may have endometriosis, you’ll need to schedule an appointment with your doctor. He or she will ask questions about your symptoms and perform a pelvic exam. If they believe you may have endometriosis, they’ll refer you to a specialist who can diagnose it through minimally invasive surgery (called laparoscopy). Under laparoscopic surgery, your doctor will insert a small telescope through an incision in your lower abdomen.

Minimally Invasive Surgery for Your Endometriosis

Minimally invasive surgery is becoming increasingly popular in the treatment of endometriosis. This is due to the less invasive nature of minimally invasive surgery. It is also due to the high success rates of this surgery.

It is also a great option for women who have completed childbearing. However, the surgery is performed in conjunction with laparoscopy, so it is not entirely non-invasive. During a laparoscopy, the doctor can easily see the endometriosis.

If the disease is extensive and causing pain, the doctor can remove the tissue. If the endometriosis is not causing pain, the doctor might leave it alone. The procedure can be done with or without a hysterectomy.

If a hysterectomy is done, the doctor also may remove the fallopian tubes, ovaries, cervix, and/or the surrounding tissue.

The doctor most often leaves the vagina intact. This procedure is called a total abdominal hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. If a woman has a hysterectomy and her ovaries are removed, she becomes immediately menopausal.