To describe the management and the fertility-enhancing potential of surgery in an infertile patient with deep-infiltrating endometriosis and adenomyosis externa.
Video case report.
Minimally invasive and robotic gynecologic surgery unit of a university hospital.
A 31-year-old nulliparous patient with dysmenorrhea, dysuria, dyspareunia, and primary infertility.
Bimanual examination, transvaginal ultrasound, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) were performed as a comprehensive preoperative workup. The findings were consistent with bladder endometriosis and a 4-cm right pararectal cystic mass suggestive of adenomyosis externa. Laparoscopic excision of all visible endometriosis was performed. A pararectal lesion was found, completely developing in the retroperitoneal spaces, from the right medial pararectal space to the rectovaginal space, reaching the pelvic floor fascia without infiltration of the levator ani muscle. According to Koninckx classification, this kind of lesion corresponds to type III endometriosis or adenomyosis externa. Nerve-sparing eradication of the nodule was performed. The decision to use these techniques was taken with the intention to treat the patient, and not with the aim of testing the procedures performed. Therefore, as a common clinical practice in our institution and for the above reasons, there was no need for consultation of the institutional review board for approval.
Main Outcome Measure(s)
Improvement of symptoms and spontaneous conception after surgical removal of all endometriotic implants.
There were no intraoperative or postoperative complications, and the patient was discharged after 3 days. She discontinued postoperative hormone therapy with gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogue after 3 months because she desired fertility. She conceived spontaneously after 2 months of attempting. She delivered vaginally and had no complications during pregnancy and labor. Neither recurrence of pain symptoms nor voiding or rectal dysfunctions were reported by the patient.
In the management of a case of deep endometriosis, the preoperative assessment should be carefully carried out to give the surgeon the most accurate information about the extent of the disease and the patient’s main objectives. Imaging techniques such as ultrasound and MRI play a fundamental role along with the clinical evaluation in also detecting lesions that are not visible at first laparoscopic inspection. In this case of a young woman without any detectable fertility issues except for endometriosis, the laparoscopic excision of endometriosis was feasible, safe, and effective in improving the patient’s fertility and pain symptoms. The fertility-enhancing potential of complete eradication of pelvic endometriosis, including removal of deep posterior localizations such those presented in this case, has been hypothesized by various investigators. It has been suggested that skilled surgical management for symptomatic deep endometriosis may be followed by a high pregnancy rate, with most pregnancies resulting from postoperative natural conception even in patients with primary infertility.
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.