Team of Mercy Physicians Publish Study in Journal of Minimally Invasive Gynecology on Narrow Band Imaging to Better Detect Endometriosis
More than 6 million American women and girls struggle with endometriosis, a chronic condition that causes pain before and after their periods. It can also cause infertility.
In some cases, endometriosis is difficult to diagnose, but a new imaging method is shining a light on a new method for a fast and proper diagnosis - and giving patients a lot more hope.
Researchers at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore have performed a study, now published in The Journal of Minimally Invasive Gynecology, that compared standard white light imaging and narrow band imaging (NBI) in detecting and diagnosing endometriosis. NBI is a high-resolution endoscopic technology that improves visibility of blood vessels in the body.
According to gynecologist and co-director of The Endometriosis Center at Mercy, Dr. Kevin Audlin, NBI allows the physician to identify abnormal blood supply commonly associated with endometriosis, making the condition “stand out”. With white light imaging, only 78.9 percent of lesions were detected. NBI was able to positively identify 84.1 percent of lesions in study participants.
"Under full spectrum light, everything looks just as we would see it. If you're looking into a belly, you'll see organs, most everything is either a yellowish or a pink. Using narrow band imaging on the laparoscope, the light changes, making endometriosis stand out and therefore much easier to detect,” Dr. Audlin said.
"The red hue tends to be the endometriosis, the green we see tends to be the actual vasculature," he added.
In a study of 150 women undergoing the laparoscopic procedure for endometriosis, researchers found the addition of narrow band imaging improved detection by 20 percent.
Dr. Audlin and and co-director Dr. Fermin Barrueto of The Endometriosis Center at Mercy believe that narrow band imaging offers another avenue for women who have had chronic pain but are not showing signs of endometriosis with traditional screening.
“If you’re treating patients that have endometriosis, there’s no reason not to use NBI. There’s no extra cost, you’re not switching scopes, and over time, it will help doctors better identify lesions they may have missed otherwise,” Dr. Audlin said.
Founded in 1874 in downtown Baltimore by the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Medical Center is a 183-licensed bed acute care university-affiliated teaching hospital. Mercy has been recognized as a top Maryland hospital by U.S. News & World Report; a Top 100 hospital for Women’s Health & Orthopedics by Healthgrades; is currently A-rated for Hospital Safety (Leapfrog Group), and is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Magnet Hospital. Mercy Medical Center is part of Mercy Health Services (MHS), the parent of Mercy’s primary care and specialty care physician enterprise, known as Mercy Personal Physicians, which employs more than 200 providers with locations in Baltimore, Lutherville, Overlea, Glen Burnie, Columbia and Reisterstown. For more information about Mercy, visit www.mdmercy.com, MDMercyMedia on Facebook, Twitter, or call 1-800-MD-Mercy.
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