Pregnancy and delivery outcomes in women with rectovaginal endometriosis treated either conservatively or operatively

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Anni Tuominen, M.D., Liisu Saavalainen, M.D., Ph.D., Aila Tiitinen, M.D., Ph.D.,
Oskari Heikinheimo, M.D., Ph.D., Paivi Harkki, M.D., Ph.D.



To study reproductive outcomes, and pregnancy and delivery complications after conservative or operative treatment of rectovaginal endometriosis during long-term follow-up.


Retrospective cohort study.


University hospital.


Women with rectovaginal endometriosis referred to hospital due to any indication from 2004 to 2013 (N = 543) who were treated initially either conservatively (group CONS, n = 183), or operatively (OPER, n = 360) either with resection of rectovaginal nodule (RVR, n = 192) or with concomitant bowel resection (BR, n = 132).


Conservative or operative management.

Main Outcome Measure(s)

Clinical pregnancy rate, live-birth rate, and assessment of the complications during pregnancy and delivery.


Between women in the CONS group or OPER group, no differences were found in either clinical pregnancy rate (56%, n = 102 vs. 50%, n = 181) or live-birth rate (48%, n = 87 vs. 42%, n = 153). Of the pregnancies, 64% (n = 65) and 49% (n = 89), respectively, started after medically assisted reproduction. No differences emerge in the subanalysis of women <40 years-old who wished to conceive. The most common pregnancy complication was preterm birth: 15% (n = 13) in the CONS group and 20% (n = 30) in the OPER group. The cesarean delivery rate also was high (46%, n = 40 vs. 49%, n = 76). Complications emerged in 21% (n = 10) versus 29% (n = 23) of vaginal deliveries and 45% (n = 18) versus 53% (n = 40) of cesarean deliveries. The most common delivery complication was excessive bleeding. The follow-up period was 4.9 years in the CONS group and 5.6 years in the OPER group.


Women with rectovaginal endometriosis have comparable and good reproductive prognosis regardless of the treatment method.

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. The journal publishes juried original scientific articles in clinical and laboratory research relevant to reproductive endocrinology, urology, andrology, physiology, immunology, genetics, contraception, and menopause. Fertility and Sterility® encourages and supports meaningful basic and clinical research, and facilitates and promotes excellence in professional education, in the field of reproductive medicine.

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