Ultrasound Evaluation of Retrocervical and Parametrial Deep Endometriosis on the Basis of Surgical Anatomic Landmarks

J Minim Invasive Gynecol. 2022 Oct;29(10):1140-1148. doi: 10.1016/j.jmig.2022.06.014. Epub 2022 Jun 19.


Study objectives: To assess the value of combined transvaginal/transabdominal ultrasonographic evaluation performed by experienced examiners for deep infiltrating endometriosis (DIE) lesions of the retrocervical (torus uterinus and uterosacral ligaments) and parametrial areas and summarize the features and anatomic criteria for identification of these lesions and their extent in the above-mentioned pelvic compartments.

Design: Retrospective study.

Setting: A specialized endometriosis center in Avellino, Italy.

Patients: A retrospective cohort of patients who underwent laparoscopic surgery for clinically suspected DIE between January 1, 2014, and December 31, 2018, with a dedicated ultrasound (US) evaluation performed no more than 1 month before the intervention.

Interventions: Preoperative US findings and surgical reports were reviewed. Using the findings of laparoscopic surgery as the gold standard, the sensitivity and specificity of preoperative US evaluation for retrocervical and parametrial endometriotic lesions were calculated with the corresponding 95% confidence intervals.

Measurements and main results: A total of 4983 patients were included. US evaluation showed high diagnostic accuracy for DIE detection in the examined pelvic compartments, with sensitivity and specificity of 97% to 98% and 98% to 100%, respectively, for both retrocervical (torus uterinus and uterosacral ligaments insertion) and parametrial lesions.

Conclusion: Parametrial extension of DIE indicates major surgical technical difficulties and risk of complications, and urologic and nerve-sparing procedures may be required in such cases. Preoperative evaluation of such scenarios will allow proper counseling of patients and facilitate adequate surgical planning in referral centers; moreover, when necessary, it can guide the constitution of a dedicated multidisciplinary surgical team as an alternative to treatment by a pelvic surgeon alone. Detailed imaging evaluation of DIE lesions and their extension is crucial for clinical management of affected patients. It can facilitate optimization of surgical timing and strategies, thereby potentially preventing ineffective, or even harmful, repeated procedures.

Keywords: DIE; Laparoscopy; Parametrium; US diagnosis; Uterosacral ligaments.

MeSH terms

  • Anatomic Landmarks / diagnostic imaging
  • Anatomic Landmarks / pathology
  • Endometriosis* / complications
  • Endometriosis* / diagnostic imaging
  • Endometriosis* / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laparoscopy* / methods
  • Pelvis / surgery
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Ultrasonography / methods