Kevin Stepp, MD
Over the past few months, there have been several advancements in the field of surgical treatment for endometriosis including the carbon dioxide (CO2) laser that can be used with robotic and conventional laparoscopy and open surgery.
“This laser has come a long way from the laser surgery of the 1990s, said Kevin Stepp, MD, director of advanced surgical specialties for women at Carolinas HealthCare System. “The technology is very different and there is much less risk of inadvertent damage to surrounding tissues.”
As there has been an increase in more complex cases of endometriosis, this technology will decrease the risk of surgeries, such as preventing injuries to ureters, bowel or other surrounding organs. Although there are very few hospitals in the country that have access to this technology for the treatment of endometriosis, it is well studied in ear, nose and throat, tongue surgery, and otology. “Plus, there is also use for this technology in other pelvic surgeries, such as colorectal surgery, or oncology,” Dr. Stepp said.
Another challenging issue for women with endometriosis that does not get talked about publicly very often is that the disease is a leading cause of infertility. In fact, up to one in two women with this condition have trouble getting pregnant, making it one of the top causes for female infertility. To better serve women who need help conceiving, Dr. Stepp has coordinated efforts with the reproductive medicine and infertility team at Carolinas HealthCare System including Paul Marshburn, MD, division director of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at the System.
“It is possible for women with advanced stage endometriosis to get pregnant,” Dr. Marshburn said. “There are various methods of fertility treatments available, including in vitro fertilization (IVF), which has a success rate that has climbed steadily over the past few years.”
Dr. Marshburn and his team at the Reproductive Medicine and Infertility Center are well equipped to handle these cases with the addition of the new in vitro fertilization center, which opened in October 2013.
March is Endometriosis Awareness Month, and all across the United States, patients and physicians are speaking out about it and the importance of getting professional help for this often misunderstood and difficult to diagnose disease. Carolinas HealthCare System is hosting an educational and informative panel on endometriosis at the end of the month to address questions and concerns from women across the region about the disease.
Date: Monday, March 31, 2014
Time: 6 p.m.
Location: Carolinas Medical Center-Mercy at 2001 Vail Ave.
Participating physicians from Carolinas HealthCare System: