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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013, Article ID 564153, 8 pages
Review Article

Clinical Prediction of Deeply Infiltrating Endometriosis before Surgery: Is It Feasible? A Review of the Literature

1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Av. Prof. Alfredo Balena, 190, 30130-100 Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil
2Biocor Hospital Belo Horizonte, R. da Paisagem, 280, Vila da Serra, 34000-000 Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil

Received 22 April 2013; Revised 31 July 2013; Accepted 31 July 2013

Academic Editor: David J. Yang

Copyright © 2013 Márcia Mendonça Carneiro et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Endometriosis is a chronic benign gynecologic disease that can cause pelvic pain and infertility affecting almost 10% of reproductive-age women. Deeply infiltrating endometriosis (DIE) is a specific entity responsible for painful symptoms which are related to the anatomic location of the lesions. Definitive diagnosis requires surgery, and histological confirmation is advisable. The aim of this paper is to review the current literature regarding the possibility of diagnosing DIE accurately before surgery. Despite its low sensitivity and specificity, vaginal examination and evaluation of specific symptoms should not be completely omitted as a basic diagnostic tool in detecting endometriosis and planning further therapeutic interventions. Recently, transvaginal ultrasound (TVUS) has been reported as an excellent tool to diagnose DIE lesions in different locations (rectovaginal septum, retrocervical and paracervical areas, rectum and sigmoid, and vesical wall) with good accuracy. Conclusion. There are neither sufficiently sensitive and specific signs and symptoms nor diagnostic tests for the clinical diagnosis of DIE, resulting in a great delay between onset of symptoms and diagnosis. Digital examination, in addition to TVS, may help to gain better understanding of the anatomical extent and dimension of DIE which is of crucial importance in defining the best surgical approach.