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The diagnostic dilemma of minimal and mild endometriosis under routine conditions.

STUDY OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the reliability of diagnosing minimal and mild endometriosis under routine conditions, and to determine to what extent disease activity is taken into account.

DESIGN: Retrospective analysis (Canadian Task Force classification II-2).

SETTING: University teaching hospital.

INTERVENTION: Laparoscopy.

PATIENTS: One hundred eighteen consecutive women with minimal and mild endometriosis undergoing routine surgery between 1994 and 1999.

MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Analytic parameters were the total number of endometriotic lesions; intraoperative description of pigmented, nonpigmented, and nondefined lesions; and number of extirpated lesions and histologic detection rate. In 118 patients, 311 suspected endometriotic lesions were documented. Nonpigmented lesions were reported in only 27% of women. In 51% of surgical reports no importance was attached to disease morphology or activity. Only 1.2 biopsies/patient were taken. The histologic detection rate was 56%. In 49 patients the assumed intraoperative diagnosis was confirmed by histologic examination.

CONCLUSIONS: Intraoperative description of endometriotic lesions is inadequate. Little attention is paid to the activity of the illness. There is room for improvement in the number of excisions and histologic detection, and an attempt should be made to find a way out of this diagnostic dilemma.

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