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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 26

of 'Endometriosis: Treatment of rectovaginal and bowel disease'

The effect of surgery for symptomatic endometriosis: the other side of the story.
Vercellini P, Crosignani PG, Abbiati A, Somigliana E, ViganòP, Fedele L
Hum Reprod Update. 2009;15(2):177.
BACKGROUND: Surgery is often considered the best treatment option in women with symptomatic endometriosis. However, extent and duration of the therapeutic benefit are still poorly defined.
METHODS: The best available evidence on surgery for endometriosis-associated pain has been reviewed to estimate the effect size of interventions in the most frequently encountered clinical conditions.
RESULTS: Methodological drawbacks limit considerably the validity of observational, non-comparative studies on the effect of laparoscopy for stage I-IV disease. As indicated by the results of three RCTs, the absolute benefit increase of destruction of lesions compared with diagnostic only operation in terms of proportion of women reporting pain relief was between 30% and 40% after short follow-up periods. The effect size tended to decrease with time and the re-operation rate, based on long-term follow-up studies, was as high as 50%. In most case series on excisional surgery for rectovaginal endometriosis, substantial short-term pain relief was experienced by approximately 70-80% of the subjects who continued the study. However, at 1 year follow-up, approximately 50% of the women needed analgesics or hormonal treatments. Major complications were observed in 3-10% of the patients. Medium-term recurrence of lesions was observed in approximately 20% of the cases, and around 25% of the women underwent repetitive surgery.
CONCLUSIONS: Pain recurrence and re-operation rates after conservative surgery for symptomatic endometriosis are high and probably underestimated. Clinicians and patients should be aware that the expected benefit is operator-dependent.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Milan, Italy. paolo.vercellini@unimi.it