Laparoscopic ovarian diathermy: an effective treatment for anti-oestrogen resistant anovulatory infertility in women with polycystic ovary syndrome

Author(s): Armar NA, Lachelin G


Objective: To determine the long term efficacy of laparoscopic ovarian diathermy in the management of refractory anovulatory infertility in women with the polycystic ovary syndrome.

Design: Open study of 50 women treated over a period of 3 years and 3 months, with follow up until 18 months after the last woman was treated.

Setting: Teaching Hospital.

Subjects: Fifty consecutive women with refractory anovulatory infertility (mean duration 5.3 (SD 3.5) years). All had been treated unsuccessfully with anti-oestrogens and more than half with gonadotrophins.

Interventions: Laparoscopic ovarian diathermy.

Main outcome measures: Ovulatory cycles and pregnancies.

Results: Forty-three women (86%) ovulated following ovarian diathermy; the mean time to ovulation was 23 (SD 6.2) days. Three nonresponders ovulated following anti-oestrogen treatment to which they were previously resistant. Thirty-three women have conceived 58 pregnancies; 22 had no treatment other than ovarian diathermy prior to their first post-operative conception; in seven an anti-oestrogen was given because of lengthening cycles; two were treated elsewhere with gonadotrophins without prior postdiathermy anti-oestrogen therapy and conceived; four had the operation repeated and two of these conceived. Twenty-six women conceived within the first 8 post-operative months. Forty-two pregnancies ended in the birth of normal live healthy babies, eight are ongoing and eight miscarried. Of the 22 women who had no pelvic abnormality other than polycystic ovaries, 19 (86%) have had one or more successful pregnancies.

Conclusion: Laparoscopic ovarian diathermy is a very effective treatment for anti-oestrogen resistant anovulatory infertility in women with the polycystic ovary syndrome and should be considered as the next step in those who fail to respond to anti-oestrogen treatment.

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