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Fluorescence diagnosis of endometriosis using 5-aminolevulinic acid

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Background: The diagnosis of nonpigmented endometrial lesions by simple laparoscopic visualization is difficult and often inaccurate. We therefore sought to establish a new and more accurate method to visualize these nonpigmented peritoneal changes caused by endometriosis.

Methods: A total of 37 patients received 30 mg 5-aminolevulinic acid/kg body weight 10 to 14 hs prior to surgery. Laparoscopy was then performed using a D-light system (Storz, Tuttlingen, Germany). The findings were evaluated first in the white-light mode; the D-light system was then activated, and all areas of fluorescence were documented. Multiple specimens were obtained by biopsy.

Results: The sensitivity of the fluorescence diagnosis in detecting endometriosis in nonpigmented areas and normal-looking peritoneum is 100%, with a specificity of 75%. Diagnosis by simple visualization under white illumination has a sensitivity of only 69% and a specificity of 70%. Occult areas of endometriosis were discovered using fluorescence diagnosis.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that fluorescence diagnosis using 5-aminolevulinic acid is feasible and can improve the diagnosis of endometriosis in nonpigmented and occult endometrial lesions. Fluorescence diagnosis is a promising new tool in the diagnosis of endometriosis.

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Received: 12 November 1998/Accepted: 13 May 1999

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Malik, E., Berg, C., Meyhöfer-Malik, A. et al. Fluorescence diagnosis of endometriosis using 5-aminolevulinic acid. Surg Endosc 14, 452–455 (2000).

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