Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Scarring gel in spotlight

By JANINE RANKIN - Manawatu Standard
Tuesday, 12 February 2008
The one in five Palmerston North women and girls who suffer from endometriosis need not be alarmed at reports that a product used in surgical treatment could make their condition worse.
The surgical spray gel at the centre of a Wellington gynaecologist's concerns that it causes internal scarring isn't widely used in Palmerston North.
MidCentral Health and private specialist Digby Ngan Kee says he doesn't use the product and isn't aware of any other surgeons locally who use it.
"It is a very expensive product, and there is no good evidence that it is effective," he said.
Wellington gynaecologist Hanifa Koya says she's stopped using the gel since she's had endometriosis patients returning for repeat surgery after its use, to repair the sort of scarring the product was supposed to prevent.
Endometriosis New Zealand chief executive Deborah Bush, who originally set up the national support group in Palmerston North, said she didn't believe women should be alarmed.
The evidence that the gel actually caused scarring over and above the damage done by endometriosis was anecdotal rather than scientific, she said.
"It's a horrible disease, and we don't know what causes it. Surgeons can excise the disease, but that doesn't mean a woman won't develop more adhesions."
In women with endometriosis the tissue that developed in the uterus each month also formed in other parts of the abdomen causing pain, scarring, and often damaging fertility.
Ms Bush said although some surgeons were reporting an increased rate of women coming back for repeat surgery, there was no good evidence the scarring was a result of the gel rather than a result of surgery or the disease.
Dr Ngan Kee said the numbers of women returning for surgery were still too small to give an accurate view. Women struggling with endometriosis will be able to attend a seminar at Palmerston North Hospital next month when Ms Bush, a gynaecologist, and an authority on nutrition and fertility will talk about latest treatments and self-help options

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