Background: The objective of this review was to determine which is the most effective technique for treating an ovarian endometrioma; excision or ablation.
Methods: A systematic review employing the principles of the Cochrane Menstrual Disorders and Subfertility Group was undertaken. No randomized studies of the management of endometriomata by laparotomy were found. Two randomized studies of the laparoscopic management of ovarian endometriomata of >3 cm in size were included.
Results: Laparoscopic excision of the cyst wall of the endometrioma was associated with a reduced rate of recurrence of the endometrioma [odds ratio (OR) 0.41, confidence interval (CI) 0.18-0.93], reduced requirement for further surgery (OR 0.21, CI 0.05-0.79), reduced recurrence rate of the symptoms of dysmenorrhoea (OR 0.15, CI 0.06-0.38), dyspareunia (OR 0.08, CI 0.01-0.51) and non-menstrual pelvic pain (OR 0.10, CI 0.02-0.56). It was also associated with a subsequently increased rate of spontaneous pregnancy in women who had documented prior subfertility (OR 5.21, CI 2.04-13.29).
Conclusions: There is some evidence that excisional surgery for endometriomata provides for a more favourable outcome than drainage and ablation, with regard to the recurrence of the endometrioma, recurrence of symptoms and subsequent spontaneous pregnancy in women who were previously subfertile. Consequently this should be the favoured surgical approach. However, we found no data to indicate the best surgical approach in women planning to undergo assisted reproductive techniques.