Endometriosis, which affects 10 to 15 percent of women, occurs when endometrial cells inexplicably grow outside the uterus. It is a persistent and sometimes painful condition with unknown causes, and in some cases can lead to infertility. The growths are not cancerous, but can be very problematic.
The symptoms can get worse over time as the woman has more menstrual cycles, and can include inflammation, internal bleeding, chronic pelvic pain, and the formation of blood-filled cysts and scar tissue. Infertility results when scar tissue forms in the fallopian tubes and interrupts the egg’s passage.
In half of the women experiencing fertility problems, endometriosis is the culprit. In order to diagnose endometriosis, Dr. Shaykh will take a complete medical history and perform a physical examination, usually with the assistance of a laparoscopy.
Surgery is used to treat moderate to severe cases of endometriosis. For patients who wish to preserve fertility, a laparoscopy is the best surgical option. However, in very severe cases, or cases in which preserving fertility is not a high priority for the patient, a laparotomy may be the best option.
During the laparoscopy procedure Dr. Shaykh makes a small incision in the abdomen and inserts a laparoscope, a small instrument with a light source and video camera that allows him to view the pelvic region on a video monitor.
Depending on your case, Dr. Shaykh will then freeze or burn the growths, or surgically remove them. Dr. Shaykh performs surgery through the laparoscope by inserting various instruments into the laparoscope while using the video monitor as a guide.
While a laparotomy may be the best option for patients who are in debilitating pain, it is major surgery and is only used when an extensive procedure is necessary. A laparotomy involves making a large, two to six inch incision in the abdomen and removing the endometrial growths and scar tissue.
Following a laparotomy, patients will stay in the hospital for one to four days, and will be in a period of recovery for about two to six weeks. The risks of laparotomy may include bleeding, infection, injury, or complications with anesthesia. Dr. Shaykh will decide whether to recommend a laparoscopy or a laparotomy, based on your case.