All about Endometriosis surgery

What does endometriosis surgery actually involve, what is recovery time like and how can you be sure it’s the right treatment route for you?
Adam Hamdi
Written by

Coni Longden-Jefferson


If you have endometriosis, you may be considering having surgery. But what does this actually involve, what is recovery time like and how can you be sure it’s the right treatment route for you?



Key Takeaways


  • Not all surgery - and not all surgeons - have the same approach. It’s important to find a consultant you feel understands you and your unique case. 
  • Recovery can be painful - Whilst it will hopefully reduce pain in the long run, recovery is not always easy. 
  • Surgery is not a guaranteed fix - In some cases, the endometriosis can return, and it’s sadly not a 100% cure. 



What is endometriosis surgery?


Endometriosis surgery is undertaken to diagnose and treat endometriosis. In many cases, it‘s no longer classed as major surgery, as many of the procedures can be performed by laparoscopy (more on that later!). However, in some cases, the surgery is more radical - we’ll go into that in more detail later in this blog. 



Who needs endometriosis surgery?


It’s important to remember that not everyone needs, or will benefit, from endometriosis surgery. For some people with milder cases of endometriosis, it might be advisable to try managing the endo through medication or diet and lifestyle before considering surgery. 

Surgery is usually recommended for people who have long-standing severe pain and medication is not helping or if they are struggling to get pregnant. Your doctor will help you understand what is the best treatment plan for you. 



Different types of endometriosis surgery


Not all surgeries are the same and some are more invasive than others. 


Conservative Surgery

This is usually known as a laparoscopy. This is the most common approach to endometriosis surgery and is generally the least invasive. It’s technically keyhole surgery, where doctors make a small incision (or a couple of small incisions) in your abdomen so they can insert a tiny tube with a camera through it so they can see inside. 

They may also make other incisions to pass their tools through. Endometriosis laparoscopic surgery is often used to formally diagnose endometriosis but can also treat mild to severe cases when performed by a specialist surgeon. Usually, the aim is to remove the affected tissue. They may do this by cutting out the endometriosis - this is known as an excision - or they may use a laser to destroy it. 


Complex Surgery

If your endometriosis is more severe you may need to undergo surgery that is a bit more complex. This could be because the endometriosis has spread to other organs in the body like the bowel or the bladder, or that some of these organs have become fused together. In many cases, this can still be done by laparoscopy, but it may involve a team of specialist surgeons. 


Radical surgery

For some people, radical surgery is the only option - and this usually means a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) oophorectomy (removal of the ovaries) or both. This is obviously a huge decision and will only be suggested for people who have had other surgeries and drug-led treatments and are still living in chronic pain. 

These surgeries have an irreversible impact on your fertility and ability to carry children, so it is often a big decision for women to make, especially if they aren’t already a mother. When performing a hysterectomy, leaving the ovaries in can increase the risk of endometriosis growing back - however, removing them will put you into surgical menopause. These are complex and important decisions to think through, but your doctor will be able to help you weigh up the pros and cons. 



What are the risks of endometriosis surgery?


Endo surgery is generally pretty safe but as with all medical procedures, there are always risks to be aware of. These include: 

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Injury to nearby organs, like the bladder and bowel.
  • Blood vessel damage.


How to prepare for endometriosis surgery


Your doctor will give you clear instructions on how to prepare in the weeks or days before your surgery but here are a few key guidelines 

  • Ask someone you trust to drive you to and from your surgery and be there when you come around - if that’s something you want 
  • Avoid eating and drinking after midnight the night before your surgery.
  • Ask your doctor if you should stop taking any medications that might impact surgery -  such as blood thinners.
  • Quit smoking at least three weeks before your endometriosis surgery.
  • Stock your fridge and freezer up with healthy meals that will support your recovery, like bone broth and nutritious soups. 

Recovery from endometriosis surgery


If you have had a laparoscopy you should be able to go home from the hospital on the same day as your procedure. However, if there have been any complications or you are particularly drowsy, they may keep you in. 

Most people find that they can return to their normal routine within a couple of weeks, but take it easy on yourself and give your body the time it needs to recover. This might be adapting your exercise routine, leaning on friends and family for support and asking your employer to work from home more regularly. 

If you have had more invasive or complex surgery you may need six weeks or more to fully recover.   


Is surgery a cure for endometriosis?

This is one of the biggest questions people have about endometriosis surgery. There is technically no cure for endometriosis, but surgery does seem to have a significant impact on the pain levels associated with the condition, once patients have recovered. 

However 40-50% of people who have endometriosis surgery report recurrence - aka the endometriosis growing back - within five years. 

Whether endometriosis comes back after surgery depends on these key factors

  • How severe the endometriosis was at the time of surgery.
  • How completely did the surgery remove the lesions?
  • Whether you had medical suppressive therapy after your surgery.

Is endometriosis surgery the right option for me?


When it comes to endo surgery there is a lot to think about - but your medical team will be best placed to help you decide whether it’s the right treatment route for you. In the meantime, it’s important to do what you can to manage your symptoms and regain some quality of life. 

Our Myoovi Kit and MyEndo supplement are well-loved by the endometriosis community for reducing pain and inflammation.