Thoracic Endometriosis Surgery - What to expect
Treatment for thoracic Endometriosis is similar to that of pelvic Endometriosis. It can be helped with a combination of pain relief and anti-inflammatory medications and alternative therapies such as acupuncture.
Hormone therapy treatments to limit, help regulate or temporarily stop your periods may be beneficial. However, for more severe cases, treatment of the Endometriosis may require surgical excision (removal), if other treatments are not effective.
These treatments cannot necessarily cure Endometriosis, but they may help reduce pain, prevent, help regulate or limit periods and potentially enable you to live as active as possible.
Your doctor may recommend surgery for several reasons, these may be:
When your symptoms are severe impacting your quality of life and medical treatments have not worked
When you may be experiencing difficulties breathing
When there is visible distortion of the chest cavity (collapsed lung)
What to expect during surgery
When Endometriosis is found affecting the chest, the affected area will often need to be ‘excised, ‘burnt’ or in some instances (depending on severity) part of the lung or respiratory organ may need to be removed. As with all other surgeries for Endometriosis, this type of operation should ideally be carried out in a minimally invasive fashion laparoscopically or robotically (via key-hole surgery).
Thoracic Endometriosis surgery is often performed in conjunction with a video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) where the Endometriosis is surgically removed.
These surgeries requires a multidisciplinary team including a thoracic surgeon and a pelvic surgeon considering thoracic endometriosis is associated with pelvic endometriosis. Your surgeon may place a thoracoscope (a thin tube-like instrument with a light and a camera located at the tip) into your chest through a small incision usually between the ribs or the upper abdomen. This allows surgeons to look inside your chest and examine the surrounding areas.
Small (sometimes) tiny incisions are then made around the chest area where your surgeon will insert surgical instruments which they’ll use to remove the Endometriosis and any fluid or air found in the chest.
Once the surgery is complete, the instruments are removed, and the incisions are closed, usually with stitches.
It's important to know...
Depending on the severity of your Endometriosis and whether or not you may have a build-up of fluid or air, a chest tube may be inserted for a short duration of time.
Your doctor should discuss the available treatments with you taking into consideration the severity of your symptoms, your age, medical history, whether or not you’re looking to start a family, and various other individual circumstances along with any possible side effects, risks, and complications.