There are several endometriosis treatment options, including laparoscopy and laparotomy. The best option for you depends on the severity of your condition and your unique situation.
Endometriosis surgery can diagnose and treat endometriosis — a condition in which tissue that typically grows inside of your uterus grows outside of it instead.
In most cases, no. Historically, surgeons performed open surgery — which requires a large incision across your abdomen — to remove endometriosis. Today, however, almost everyone who needs endometriosis surgery can have laparoscopy, a minimally invasive surgery which only requires small incisions.
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Endometriosis surgery involves the removal of endometriosis. There are two different approaches:
A healthcare provider can help determine whether or not you need endometriosis surgery. Surgery may be beneficial if:
Your healthcare provider will give you specific instructions on how to prepare for endometriosis surgery. Here are some general guidelines:
As mentioned above, there are two types of endometriosis surgery: laparoscopy and laparotomy. However, the majority of people who need this surgery will undergo laparoscopy.
During laparoscopic endometriosis surgery:
If you had laparoscopy, you’ll probably go home from the hospital on the same day. But you’ll need to rest in a recovery area until your medical team clears you. You’ll likely feel tired for a few days. But you should be able to return to normal routines in about two weeks, though it could take longer for some people.
People who undergo laparotomy usually need several weeks to recover because the procedure is more invasive. Your healthcare provider will give you a list of detailed post-operative guidelines.
Most people notice significant relief with simple removal of the endometriosis. However, 20% of those who undergo surgery won’t respond and will need further medical treatment. Of those that respond, there may be a recurrence (return) of pain over time.
Whether endometriosis comes back (recurs) after surgery depends upon three factors:
Lesions that appear after surgery may be new or pre-existing. For this reason, it may be difficult for your provider to tell whether your disease has come back or is progressing. Many studies also report symptoms as a sign of new disease.
Laparoscopy is superior to laparotomy because it results in fewer surgical complications, such as bleeding, infection and possible injuries to other abdominal organs. Laparoscopy also offers faster recovery and less downtime compared to laparotomy.
Endometriosis surgery is relatively safe. However, as with any procedure, there are possible complications, including:
While many people find success with medication and surgery, these treatments do have side effects and they don’t work for everyone. Researchers are continuing to investigate new and improved treatment strategies. One area of study is focusing on the role of the immune system in the development of endometriosis.
People with advanced cases of endometriosis may need six weeks or longer to recover. If you have mild endometriosis, you may heal quicker.
Unless you have a physically demanding job, you’ll probably be able to return to work or school two weeks after endometriosis surgery. If your job requires a lot of physical activity, you may need to wait longer. Be sure to ask your healthcare provider what to expect in terms of your recovery.
Following endometriosis surgery, you should call your healthcare provider if you notice:
Surgery is usually successful in relieving pain, but there’s a chance the pain could return. Hormones produced by your ovaries stimulate endometriosis. To combat this, your healthcare provider may recommend medication (such as birth control pills, or progesterone-only medications) to suppress your ovaries and control endometriosis.
Endometriosis can grow back soon after surgery if the disease isn’t completely removed or if your ovaries aren’t suppressed.
In many cases, endometriosis surgery can improve your chances of getting pregnant naturally. However, if you don’t get pregnant within a reasonable timeframe following your procedure, having surgery again probably won’t help.
Treating early stage endometriosis to improve fertility is controversial. If you have questions about endometriosis and fertility, talk with a healthcare provider about personalized treatment.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Endometriosis can be a painful and frustrating condition. If you think you may have endometriosis, schedule a consultation with your healthcare provider. They can design an individualized treatment plan to ease your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 09/13/2022.
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