Surgery for endometriosis: beyond medical therapies

An overview of the indications and special considerations for the surgical management of endometriosis associated pelvic pain and subfertility.

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Volume 107, Issue 3, Pages 549–554


Sukhbir S. Singh, M.D., Michael W.H. Suen, M.D.


Endometriosis-associated pelvic pain and subfertility may be managed medically in many cases; however, the surgical management of this insidious disease remains a necessary part of the treatment algorithm. Laparoscopy for diagnosis alone is rarely indicated with the advancements in preoperative imaging. When surgery is performed, the ideal goal would be a therapeutic and effective surgical intervention based on the preoperative evaluation. Surgery for women with pain due to endometriosis may be indicated in patients who cannot or do not wish to take medical therapies; acute surgical or pain events; deep endometriosis; during concomitant management of other gynecologic disorders; and patients seeking fertility with pain. The role of surgery for endometriosis-related subfertility may be considered in those with hydrosalpinges undergoing IVF; management of ovarian endometriomas in specific circumstances; and when a patient requests surgery as an alternative to assisted reproductive technology (ART). Surgery for ovarian endometriomas requires special attention due to the risk of potential harm on future fertility. Finally, a combined approach of surgery followed by postoperative medical therapy offers the best long-term outcomes for recurrence of disease and symptoms. A patient-centered approach and a goal-oriented approach are essential when determining the options for care in this population.

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Fertility and Sterility

Editorial Office, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Fertility and Sterility® is an international journal for obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, basic scientists and others who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders.