Background: Treatment of colorectal endometriosis is difficult and challenging. We reviewed the clinical outcome of surgical treatment of deeply infiltrating endometriosis (DIE) with colorectal involvement.
Methods: Review was based upon a literature search using following search terms: (1) 'surgery' and 'colorectal endometriosis', (2) 'bowel' and 'endometriosis' and 'surgery'.
Inclusion criteria: 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.
Results: 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.
Conclusions: Prospective studies reporting standardized and well-defined clinical outcome after surgical treatment of DIE with colorectal involvement with long-term follow-up are needed.