The endometrium is the mucous membrane that lines the uterus. Endometriosis is where similar tissue forms elsewhere in the body. The condition disproportionately affects young women, and the primary symptom is abdominal pain. It can also cause infertility.
Where endometriosis affects the intestine, that is the small bowel, the rectum or the colon, it is known as 'intestinal endometriosis'. It takes the form of hard and fibrous nodules of tissue in the bowel lining muscle, which can be hard to remove. Symptoms of intestinal endometriosis include:
- Pain when passing bowel motions.
- Bowel function change (often cyclical).
Surgery is often recommended where endometriosis is causing infertility or where there are severe symptoms.
Unfortunately, many standard diagnostic methods (for example MRI or CT scans, or colonoscopy) are not able to detect the condition and so a formal diagnosis is often first made during surgery.
How should I prepare for surgery?
The day before admission we will contact you to confirm admission time and to give you instructions regarding any fasting requirements for the procedure. You should bring any x-rays in with you (and ensure you take them with you when you are discharged). Also bring any current medication in with you to the hospital.
For day procedures you should not drive yourself home when you are discharged - please ensure you have made other transport arrangements.
If you smoke, you should reduce smoking before your procedure. Our strong recommendation is that you give up entirely at least 6 weeks before the procedure, or at least one week beforehand. Smoking greatly increases the possibility of chest infection and hampers natural wound healing.
In the case of major surgery, please inform Dr White's team if you take:
- Anti-inflammatory medication.
We will need to discuss these medications with you prior to your surgery.
Dr White will provide you with a full set of pre-operative instructions for your specific surgery well ahead of the day of surgery.
What is involved in the procedure?
Intestinal Endometriosis Surgery is generally carried out via conventional open surgery, although it is possible to conduct the procedure using a more complex minimally invasive (laparoscopic) approach.
After the procedure the patient generally must recover in hospital for around six days before returning home. Full recovery takes a total of eight weeks after surgery.
You will receive more detailed recovery guidelines before you leave hospital.
All types of surgery are subject to the following risks, which are rare, but can occur:
- Allergic reaction to medication / anaesthetic.
- Difficulty breathing.
Risks related to this procedure:
- Bowel content leakage from site where endometriosis was removed (this can be serious and may require the fitting of an ileostomy).
- Damage to bladder / ureters.
- Permanent change in bowel function.
When to contact Dr White
Most surgical procedures are uneventful, with minimal complications. However, you need to be aware of the following symptoms as they may indicate a developing serious complication...
- Excess bleeding.
- Difficulty urinating.
- Severe or increasing pain.
If you experience any of these symptoms or have any concerns after your surgery, please contact the rooms on 07 5598 0955 for advice.
A post operative appointment will be made for you before you are discharged from hospital. If you are discharged on a weekend, after normal surgery hours or it is not clear what follow up appointments are required, then contact the rooms the next working day to make an appointment.