Background: Endometriomata are endometriotic deposits within the ovary. The surgical management of these blood filled cysts is controversial. The laparoscopic approach to the management of endometriomata is favoured over a laparotomy approach as it offers the advantage of a shorter hospital stay, faster patient recovery and decreased hospital costs. Currently the commonest procedures for the treatment of ovarian endometriomata are either excision of the cyst capsule or drainage and electrocoagulation of the cyst wall.
Objectives: The objective of this review was to determine the most effective technique of treating an ovarian endometrioma; either excision of the cyst capsule or drainage and electrocoagulation of the cyst wall. The end-points assessed were the relief of pain, recurrence of the endometrioma, recurrence of symptoms and in women desiring to conceive the subsequent pregnancy rate, either spontaneous or as part of fertility treatment.
Search strategy: The reviewers searched the Cochrane Menstrual Disorders and Subfertility Group specialised register of trials (searched 3rd March 2007), the Cochrane Register of Controlled Trials (The Cochrane Library, Issue 3, 2007), MEDLINE (1966-August 2007), EMBASE (1980- March 2007) and reference lists of articles, the handsearching of relevant journals and conference proceedings and by contacting leaders in the field of endoscopic surgery throughout the world. The Cochrane Menstrual Disorders and Subfertility Group Trials Register is based on regular searches of MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINHAL and CENTRAL.
Selection criteria: Randomised controlled trials of excision of the cyst capsule versus drainage and electrocoagulation of the cyst in the management of ovarian endometriomata.
Data collection and analysis: Reviewers assessed eligibility and trial quality.
Main results: No randomised studies of the management of endometriomata by laparotomy were found. Two randomised studies of the laparoscopic management of ovarian endometriomata of greater than 3cm in size, for the primary symptom of pain were included. Laparoscopic excision of the cyst wall of the endometrioma was associated with a reduced recurrence rate of the symptoms of dysmenorrhea (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), a reduced rate of recurrence of the endometrioma (OR 0.41 CI 0.18-0.93) and with a reduced requirement for further surgery (OR 0.21 CI 0.05-0.79) than surgery to ablate the endometrioma. For those women subsequently attempting to conceive it was also associated with a subsequent increased spontaneous pregnancy rate in women who had documented prior sub-fertility (OR 5.21 CI 2.04-13.29). A further randomised study was identified that demonstrated an increased ovarian follicular response to gonadotrophin stimulation for women who had undergone excsional surgery when compared to ablative surgery (WMD 0.6 CI 0.04-1.16). There is insufficient evidence to favour excisional surgery over ablative surgery with respect to the chance of pregnancy after controlled ovarian stimulation and intra-uterine insemination (OR 1.40 CI 0.47-4.15) .
Authors' conclusions: There is good 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 pain symptoms, and in women who were previously subfertile, subsequent spontaneous pregnancy . Consequently this approach should be the favoured surgical approach. However in women who may subsequently may undergo fertility treatment insufficient evidence exists to determine the favoured surgical approach.