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Hum Reprod Update. 2011 May-Jun;17(3):311-26. doi: 10.1093/humupd/dmq057. Epub 2011 Jan 13.

Surgical treatment of deeply infiltrating endometriosis with colorectal involvement.

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  • 1Leuven University Fertility Centre, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Hospital Leuven, Herestraat 49, 3000 Leuven, Belgium.



Treatment of colorectal endometriosis is difficult and challenging. We reviewed the clinical outcome of surgical treatment of deeply infiltrating endometriosis (DIE) with colorectal involvement.


Review was based upon a literature search using following search terms: (1) 'surgery' and 'colorectal endometriosis', (2) 'bowel' and 'endometriosis' and 'surgery'.


clear explanation of surgical technique and follow-up data on at least one of the following items: complications, pain, quality of life (QOL), fertility and recurrence.


Most of the 49 studies included complications (94%) and pain (67%); few studies reported recurrence (41%), fertility (37%) and QOL (10%); only 29% reported (loss of) follow-up. Out of 3894 patients, 71% received bowel resection anastomosis, 10% received full-thickness disc excision and 17% were treated with superficial surgery. Comparison of clinical outcome between different surgical techniques was not possible. Post-operative complications were present in 0-3% of the patients. Although pain improvement was reported in most studies, pain evaluation was patient-based in <50% (Visual Analogue Scale in only 18%). While QOL was improved in most studies, prospective data were only available for 149 patients. Pregnancy rates were 23-57% with a cumulative pregnancy rate of 58-70% within 4 years. The overall endometriosis recurrence rate in studies (>2 years follow-up) was 5-25% with most of the studies reporting 10%. Owing to highly variable study design and data collection, a CONSORT-inspired checklist was developed for future studies.


Prospective studies reporting standardized and well-defined clinical outcome after surgical treatment of DIE with colorectal involvement with long-term follow-up are needed.

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