Thoracic and diaphragmatic endometriosis: an overview of diagnosis and surgical treatment

Curr Opin Obstet Gynecol. 2022 Aug 1;34(4):204-209. doi: 10.1097/GCO.0000000000000792.


Purpose of review: Thoracic endometriosis is a rare disease that can lead to a variety of clinical manifestations. There are currently no guidelines for optimal diagnosis and management of the disease. The purpose of this review is to provide an overview of the diagnosis and surgical treatment of thoracic endometriosis.

Recent findings: Various imaging modalities, including computed tomography (CT), MRI and ultrasound, have been reported in the detection of thoracic endometriosis. MRI is the most sensitive imaging study and may aid in preoperative planning. Histopathology of a biopsied lesion remains the gold standard for diagnosis. Surgical management of thoracic endometriosis may involve laparoscopy and/or thoracoscopy, and surgical planning should include preparation for single ventilation capability. A multidisciplinary approach involving a gynaecologic surgeon and thoracic surgeon may be considered. Repairing diaphragm defects and pleurodesis are shown to decrease recurrent symptoms.

Summary: Although optimal diagnostic testing remains uncertain, a high clinical suspicion for thoracic endometriosis is critical to ensure prompt diagnosis and treatment in order to prevent recurrent symptoms and progression to more serious sequalae. Minimally invasive surgical techniques are becoming increasingly utilized and allow for thorough evaluation and treatment of thoracic endometriosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diaphragm / pathology
  • Diaphragm / surgery
  • Endometriosis* / diagnosis
  • Endometriosis* / pathology
  • Endometriosis* / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laparoscopy*
  • Minimally Invasive Surgical Procedures
  • Muscular Diseases* / surgery