Laparoscopic Surgery in Infertile Women with Minimal or Mild Endometriosis
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BACKGROUND: Minimal or mild endometriosis is frequently diagnosed in infertile women. It is often treated by resection or ablation of the lesions, but whether this improves fertility has not been established. We carried out a randomized, controlled trial to determine whether laparoscopic surgery enhanced fecundity in infertile women with minimal or mild endometriosis. METHODS: We studied 341 infertile women 20 to 39 years of age with minimal or mild endometriosis. During diagnostic laparoscopy the women were randomly assigned to undergo resection or ablation of visible endometriosis or diagnostic laparoscopy only. They were followed for 36 weeks after the laparoscopy or, for those who became pregnant during that interval, for up to 20 weeks of pregnancy. RESULTS: Among the 172 women who had resection or ablation of endometriosis, 50 became pregnant and had pregnancies that continued for 20 weeks or longer, as compared with 29 of the 169 women in the diagnostic-laparoscopy group (cumulative probabilities, 30.7 percent and 17.7 percent, respectively; P=0.006 by the log-rank test). The corresponding rates of fecundity were 4.7 and 2.4 per 100 person-months (rate ratio, 1.9; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.2 to 3.1). Fetal losses occurred in 20.6 percent of all the recognized pregnancies in the laparoscopic-surgery group and in 21.6 percent of all those in the diagnostic-laparoscopy group (P=0.91). Four minor operative complications (intestinal contusion, slight tear of the tubal serosa, difficult pneumoperitoneum, and vascular trauma) were reported (three in the surgery group and one in the control group). CONCLUSIONS: Laparoscopic resection or ablation of minimal and mild endometriosis enhances fecundity in infertile women.
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