Semin Reprod Med 2017; 35(01): 072-080
DOI: 10.1055/s-0036-1597305
Review Article
Thieme Medical Publishers 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

Nerve Sparing and Surgery for Deep Infiltrating Endometriosis: Pessimism of the Intellect or Optimism of the Will

Basma Darwish
1  Expert Center in Diagnostic and Management of Endometriosis, Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Rouen University Hospital, Rouen, France
,
Horace Roman
1  Expert Center in Diagnostic and Management of Endometriosis, Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Rouen University Hospital, Rouen, France
2  Research Group EA 4308 'Spermatogenesis and Male Gamete Quality', Rouen University Hospital, Rouen, France
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
12 December 2016 (eFirst)

Abstract

Nerve-sparing surgery is an emerging technique for surgery-related dysfunction. Within the past 15 years, an essential progress in recognition and understanding of the anatomy of the pelvic autonomous nervous system has been made. Surgical preservation of vegetative nerves has become well known in many cancer centers. The technique has led to improvement of the quality of life following oncologic radical procedures. Positive results have led to the adoption of such techniques in the surgical treatment of deep infiltrating endometriosis in an aim to prevent urinary, rectal, and sexual dysfunction. Even though nerve-sparing excision of endometriosis is feasible and offers good outcomes in terms of bladder morbidity; digestive and sexual functions seem to be more complex to assess. Moreover, functional impairment in deep infiltrating endometriosis may preexist prior to surgery and function may not be restored despite nerve preservation. In cases where endometriosis lesions are deeply embedded in the parametrium, nerve-sparing techniques may only be feasible in those with a unilateral involvement. The nerve-sparing surgical approach is therefore a safer radical surgery in the hands of experienced surgeons that has to be tailored to the unique nature of deep infiltrating endometriosis and balanced between the natural aggressiveness of such a debilitating disease and postoperative morbidity. Good knowledge of pelvic nerve anatomy and function allows understanding of related symptoms to reduce morbidity, whenever this goal is still achievable.