Objective To determine current practice regarding laparoscopic diagnosis and treatment of endometriosis.
Design A prospective questionnaire survey.
Setting The United Kingdom.
Population All 1411 UK consultant gynaecologists identified from a Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists database.
Methods A postal questionnaire was sent to all consultants with reply paid envelopes. A postal reminder was sent three months following the initial questionnaire.
Main outcome measure Current practice for the laparoscopic diagnosis and treatment of endometriosis and willingness to participate in a randomised trial.
Results The response rate was 66% (893/1411). Diagnostic laparoscopy was performed by 87% (772/893) of respondents. Seventy-six percent of these (58/772) were confident to visually diagnose endometriosis and 6% (47/772) routinely verified the diagnosis histologically. Laparoscopic surgery was routinely undertaken by 41% (318/772) of respondents. Ablative therapy was the most frequently employed technique utilised [620/653 (95%)] and electrodiathermy was the most popular energy modality (80%). Among respondents expressing a preference, excision of disease was believed to be more effective, but less safe compared with ablation. One-third of respondents (273/893) were willing to enter patients into a randomised controlled trial to compare laparoscopic treatments for pelvic pain associated with endometriosis.
Conclusion Laparoscopic surgery for endometriosis associated with pelvic pain is routinely undertaken by a large number of UK consultant gynaecologists, but techniques used and beliefs about efficacy vary. In view of this division of opinion regarding the relative roles of laparoscopic treatment methods, a randomised trial comparing the efficacy and safety of these methods is urgently needed.