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Impact of surgical excision of lesions on pain in a rat model of endometriosis.

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Chronic pain is the most common and disabling feature of endometriosis. Surgical excision of endometriosis lesions provides relief but pain relapse is common. Studies in a preclinical model of endometriosis might help to unravel the role of the ectopic lesions as the source of pain. Thus, we evaluated the impact of lesion excision on mechanical hyperalgesia in a preclinical model of endometriosis pain.


Endometriosis was induced by implanting autologous uterine tissue onto the gastrocnemius muscle. Surgical excision or aspiration drainage of the cystic lesion was performed at different times post-implant and mechanical nociceptive thresholds were assessed at the site of the lesion.


Lesions at 2, 8 and 16 weeks post-implant produced mechanical hyperalgesia of similar magnitude (n = 6/group). Excision of lesions (n = 6/group) produced a longer inhibition, with a magnitude and time course depending upon the timing of excision. Excision at 2 and 8 weeks produced a rapid onset marked attenuation of hyperalgesia, which returned to pre-excision values by post-surgical week 3. In contrast, excision of the lesion at 16 weeks produced a peak of inhibition of hyperalgesia 2 weeks post-excision, but then the inhibition was sustained. Aspiration of fluid from cysts in the lesions briefly attenuated mechanical hyperalgesia (n = 6/group).


In this preclinical model, we demonstrate that endometriosis pain is alleviated by surgical excision of the ectopic lesion or drainage of its cysts, providing support for the clinical observation that endometriosis pain is dependent upon the ongoing presence of the lesions.

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