Horace Roman, M.D., Ph.D., Benjamin Merlot, M.D., Basma Darwish, M.D.
To present 10 consecutive, standardized, and reproducible surgical steps allowing complete excision of deep endometriosis nodules infiltrating the parametrium and sacral roots.
Surgical video presenting the 10 surgical steps. Local institutional review board approval was not required for this video article, because the video describes a technique and the patient cannot be identified whatsoever.
Patients undergoing excision of deep endometriosis nodules of the parametrium and sacral roots.
The excision of deep endometriosis infiltrating the parametrium down to the sacral roots may be performed following 10 steps: complete ureterolysis and removal of ureteral stenosis; opening of the pararectal space in contact with the rectum in a sagittal plane; dissection caudally toward the rectovaginal space, section of the rectovaginal nodule in two separate blocks infiltrating the rectum and vagina, respectively, all the way down to the levator ani muscles; dissection of the presacral space and identification of the superior hypogastric plexus and hypogastric nerve; transverse incision of the peritoneum at the level of the promotorium, extended laterally above the origin of the hypogastric vessels; anterograde dissection of the hypogastric artery and identification of the hypogastric vein; anterograde dissection of the hypogastric vein and opening of Okabayashi space, followed by identification and, when required, ligation of hypogastric vein tributaries; dissection is extended behind the venous network with identification of the pyriform muscles and sacral roots S2, S3, and S4; anterograde dissection of the nerve network and inferior hypogastric plexus, up to the posterior limits of the deep endometriosis nodule; and excision of the deep endometriosis nodule from the posterior limit to the inferior limit in contact with the sacral roots, which should be released or shaved, then to the lateral limit in contact with the pyriform muscle and lateral pelvic wall. Additional steps may be required to remove adjacent infiltration of the vagina, rectum, bladder, or ureters. The movie does not reflect a similar approach in cases of isolated nodules of the sciatic nerves involving a specific lateral dissection plane between the external iliac vessels and the iliopsoas muscle.
Main Outcome Measures
Description of 10 successive surgical steps.
The 10-step procedure already has been employed in 70 women with deep endometriosis of the parametria involving sacral roots, in whom sensory or motor complaints were not completely relieved by continuous amenorrhea provided by contraceptive pill intake or gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogs. Baseline complaints included somatic pain (85.7%), severe bladder dysfunction (10%), or hydronephrosis (24.3%). Main localizations concerned sacral roots (95.7%), sciatic nerves (7.1%), mid/low rectum (87.1%), and bladder (21.4%). Operative time was 224 ± 94 minutes. Among postoperative complications, we recorded rectovaginal fistulae (14.3%), urinary tract fistulae (4.3%), and bladder dysfunction at 3 weeks (22.9%) and 12 months (5.7%) after the surgery.
Laparoscopic excision of deep endometriosis nodules of the parametria involving the sacral roots is a challenging procedure, requiring good anatomic and surgical skills. Teaching such a complex procedure is a delicate task. By following 10 sequential steps, the surgeon may reduce the risk of hemorrhage originating from the hypogastric venous network, preserve as much as possible autonomic nerves and organ function, and successfully excise deep endometriosis nodules. However, transection of the internal iliac artery and vein should not be systematic, as it may adversely affect the vascular supply of the pelvis. Transection of small pelvic splanchnic nerves should be performed only if they actually are included in fibrous nodules, as it may be followed by sexual, bladder, and rectal dysfunction or perineal sensory effects. Although the 10 steps attempt to standardize the surgical approach in a challenging localization of deep endometriosis, they are not mandatory and their use should be individualized.