Laparoscopic surgical treatment of diaphragmatic endometriosis: a 7-year single-institution retrospective review



Diaphragmatic endometriosis is a rare condition that may cause invalidating epigastric or thoracic pain and catamenial pneumothorax. During the past decades, laparoscopy has been proposed as an optimal tool for diagnosis and surgical eradication of the disease.


We present a retrospective series of consecutive patients affected by diaphragmatic endometriosis, treated by laparoscopy at our institution, during a period of 7 years.


Among 3,008 patients with pelvic endometriosis, 46 cases with intraoperative diagnosis of diaphragmatic endometriosis were identified. Operative findings showed multiple diaphragmatic lesions in 32 (69.5 %) patients and single lesions in 14 (30.4 %). Diaphragmatic implants were distributed on the right side in 40 (86.9 %) patients; in 5 patients (10.8 %) they were bilateral and 1 patient had a single lesion on the left hemidiaphragm. Most of the symptomatic patients were treated by complete excision of the nodules, whereas only three patients referring right upper-quadrant abdominal pain and right shoulder catamenial pain had superficial diaphragmatic endometriosis and were treated by diathermocoagulation.


Diaphragmatic endometriosis should be included in the concept of complete eradication of endometriosis. This kind of surgery has been shown to be feasible and cost-effective; however, it should be managed in a referral center, by an expert laparoscopic gynecologist with knowledge of oncological surgical techniques, with the support of a general surgeon and a trained anesthesiologist.

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Drs. Marcello Ceccaroni, Giovanni Roviglione, Pierluigi Giampaolino, Roberto Clarizia, Francesco Bruni, Giacomo Ruffo, Tito Silvio Patrelli, Giuseppe De Placido, and Luca Minelli have no conflicts of interest or financial ties to disclose.

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Correspondence to Marcello Ceccaroni.

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Ceccaroni, M., Roviglione, G., Giampaolino, P. et al. Laparoscopic surgical treatment of diaphragmatic endometriosis: a 7-year single-institution retrospective review. Surg Endosc 27, 625–632 (2013).

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  • Laparoscopy
  • Endometriosis
  • Diaphragm
  • Surgery
  • Resection
  • Treatment