The role of magnetic resonance imaging in minimal access surgery

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Purpose of review

Magnetic resonance imaging is commonly used for gynaecological malignancies, but also is increasingly used for the investigation of benign gynaecological complaints. This review summarizes the current evidence regarding its use as an adjunct to minimal access surgery for endometriosis, adenomyosis, adhesions and fibroids.

Recent findings

Magnetic resonance imaging appears to be equal in efficacy to ultrasound for the diagnosis of both fibroids and endometriosis, and perhaps superior for the diagnosis of adenomyosis. It is extremely useful for the preoperative investigation of severe endometriosis, especially recto-vaginal disease. Milder endometriosis is, however, still difficult to diagnose by either ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging. Magnetic resonance imaging can also be helpful for the detection of adhesions, pelvic collections, congenital defects and fibroids. It is also useful following fibroid embolization.


Currently, it is not cost-effective to use magnetic resonance imaging as the modality of first choice when investigating pelvic pain and or menstrual disorders. If preoperative patients are carefully selected, however, it can substantially reduce surgical morbidity by using it to diagnose severe endometriosis and adhesions which may lead to cost savings overall.

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