Send to

Choose Destination
BJOG. 2006 Mar;113(3):251-6.

The use of ultrasound-based 'soft markers' for the prediction of pelvic pathology in women with chronic pelvic pain--can we reduce the need for laparoscopy?

Author information

Early Pregnancy, Gynaecological Ultrasound and Minimal Access Surgery Unit, St George's Hospital Medical School, London, UK.



To assess the accuracy of new transvaginal ultrasound-scan-based markers and to compare them to conventional ultrasound methods used in the detection of common pelvic pathology in women with chronic pelvic pain (CPP).


A prospective observational study.


Teaching hospital.


A total of 120 consecutive women with CPP undergoing transvaginal ultrasonography before either diagnostic or operative laparoscopy.


Anatomical abnormalities, e.g. endometrioma or hydrosalpinx (hard markers), were documented. The woman was then assessed for the presence or absence of 'soft markers' (reduced ovarian mobility and site-specific pelvic tenderness).


Presence or absence of pelvic pathology noted during laparoscopy.


Seventy women had pelvic pathology, of whom 51 had endometriosis alone, 7 both endometriosis and pelvic adhesions, 6 pelvic adhesions, 1 hydrosalpinx with endometriosis and 5 hydrosalpinx and pelvic adhesions. The likelihood ratio for the hard markers was infinity (specificity was 100%), for the soft makers 1.9 (95% CI 1.2-3.1) and for a 'normal' ultrasound 0.18 (0.09-0.34). The pre-test probability of pelvic disease in our population of women with CPP was 58%, and this probability of disease was raised to 100% with the presence of hard markers and to 73% with the presence of soft markers. The pre-test probability of 58% fell to 20% when ultrasound finding was found to be normal.


This new approach improves the detection and exclusion of significant pathology in women with CPP and may lead to a reduction in the number of unnecessary laparoscopies carried out on women with CPP.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center