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Adenomyosis. Ob&Gy Dept. First Hospital, Xi’An Jiao Tong University. definition. Adenomyosis is a benign disease of the uterus characterized by ectopic endometrial glands and stroma within the myometrium It is associated with myometrial hypertrophy and may be either diffuse or focal . .

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Ob gy dept first hospital xi an jiao tong university l.jpg


Ob&Gy Dept. First Hospital,

Xi’An Jiao Tong University

Definition l.jpg


Adenomyosis is a benign disease of the uterus characterizedby ectopic endometrial glands and stroma within the myometrium

It is associated with myometrial hypertrophy andmay be either diffuse or focal.

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adenomyomadescribes a focus of adenomyosis within a leiomyoma (fibroid).  Both conditions are common so it is not surprising that this overlap condition may occur.

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The gland tissue grows during the menstrual cycle and then at menses tries to slough, the old tissue and blood cannot escape

This trapping of the blood and tissue causes uterine pain in the form of monthly menstrual cramps.

It also produces abnormal uterine bleeding.

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Women's Health Center of South Orange County

Associated factors

Over 23% of patients requiring hysterectomy for control of chronic severe pelvic pain had adenomyosis, and almost half of these women had had a tubal ligation performed. The possible relationship of adenomyosis to a previous tubal ligation has been explored.

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ClinicaOstetrica e Ginecologica Luigi Mangiagalli, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Milano, Italy

Associated factors

No relationship was found between age at surgery, age at menarche, indications for surgery, menopausal status at intervention, and presence of adenomyosis.But parity may be associated with an increased frequency of adenomyosis.

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The typical symptomsinclude

  • Pelvic pain,

  • Dysmenorrhea,

  • And menorrhagia unresponsive to hormonal therapy or uterine curettage.

  • Subfertility.And pregnancy termination.

classic presentation

Cyclic, cramping uterine pain beginning later in reproductive life (generally after age 35) and often associated with prolonged and heavy menses

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Pelvic pain

In studies of chronic pelvic pain in which women had hysterectomies, the incidence of adenomyosis is about 15% to 25%

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  • 111 specimens of uteri and cervices

  • 17 with adenomyosis alone

19 with adenomyosis with leiomyomas

39 with leiomyomas alone

  • 36 with neither.

  • from patient records the pregnancy terminations rate was:

  • 58.8%

  • 47.4%

  • 20.5%

  • 22.2%

  • Levgur M, Abadi MA, Tucker A.2000 May

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  • 2,616 consecutive hysterectomy specimens examined during a 7-year period.

  • Adenomyosis was noted in 16%

  • Multiparas between the ages of 30 and 50 years were most commonly affected.

  • Abnormal uterine bleeding was the common symptom

  • Myohyperplasia and leiomyomas were the usual associated lesions.

  • Adenomyosis uteri was seen equally in women of African, Indian and mixed races in this West Indian population

Aust N Z J Obstet Gynaecol 1988 Feb

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  • (Discepoli S, Leocata P, Giangregorio F).examined 1500 surgical bits had been histologically examined.. In all they have found 310 cases of adenomyosis (20,6%);

The diagnosis can only be proven by the pathologists

A good gynecologist may suspect adenomyosis based on the clinical factors, but the final diagnosis usually has to wait until hysterectomy is performed.

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pelvic exam

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pelvic exam

  • there may be uterine enlargement from about 6-10 weeks pregnancy size

  • The uterus can feel soft and boggy on pelvic exam. Sometimes adenomyosis is associated with uterine fibroids (leiomyomata)

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pelvic exam

repeated bimanual examinations, over several months, just before and after menstruation have been recommended to detect fluctuating changes in contour, size and consistency of the uterus

Helen Bickerstaff

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pelvic exam

The pathological confirmation of clinically suspected cases is also low (10% to 38%)

Azziz R. Adenomyosis: current perspectives. Obsetet Gynecol Clin North Am

Seidman JD, Kjerulff KH. Pathological findings from the Maryland Womens Health Study - practice patterns in the diagnosis of of adenomysis. International journal of Gynecolological Pathology 1996, 15:217-221

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the presence of ill defined areas of contrast intravasation extending perpendicularly from the uterine cavity into the myometrium isThe most characteristic feature of adenomyosis on hysterography.

Unfortunately, the sensitivity of this technique is too low for clinical practice.

Marshak RH, Eliasoph J. The roentgen findings in adenomyosis. Radiology 1955; 64:846-51

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Filling of cavities in the uterine wall during hysterography was observedin 54 of 320 surgically excised specimens in which metal threads had beeninserted at different levels for identification.

Adenomyosis may haveaccounted for these cavities in 24%.

Radiological Society of North America ,

Radiology, Vol 118, 581-586,1976

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True adenomyomas (encapsulated) are uncommon tumors of the uterus. At hysterosalpingography, detection of a network of fine channels in a very well-circumscribed area of the myometrium, connected with the uterine cavity, allows a preoperative diagnosis

Obstet Gynecol 1989 May; 73:885-7

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Myometrial biopsy laparoscopically or sonographically guided

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Myometrial biopsy laparoscopically or sonographically guided

a larger study by Popp et al. who took not only needle biopsies immediately after hysterectomy but also at the time of laparoscopy as well as transvaginally under ultrasound guidance A single myometrial biopsy picked up only 8% to 19% of women with adenomyosis. The sensitivity of random needle biopsy is therefore too low for clinical practice.

**Popp LW, Schwiedessen JP, Gaetje R. Myometrial biopsy in the diagnosis of adenomyosis uteri. Am J Obstet Gynecol 1993;

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CA 125

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CA 125

adenomyosis is associated with increased numbers of myometrial macrophages, elevated antiphospolipid auto-antibodies and CA 125 levels in peripheral blood.

Ota H, Maki M, Shidara Y, Kodoma H, Takahashi H, Hayakawa M et al.. Effects of danazol at the immunologic level in patients with adenomoysis, with special reference to autoanyibodies: multicenter cooperative study. Am J Obstet Gynecol 1992; 167:481-6.

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CA 125

CA 125 antigens present on adenomyotic epithelial cells have a different molecular mass from those present on eutopic endometrium; the antibody binding site is however the same

If an antibody unique to adenomyosis could be isolated and purified then a highly specific serum screening test could be developed.

Kobayashi H, Ida W, Terao T, Kawashima Y. Molecular characteristics of the CA125 antigen produced by human endometrial epithelial cellls: comparison between eutopic and heterotopic epithelial cells. Am J Obstet Gynecol 1993; 169: 725-30.

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The technique is strongly operator dependent

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ill defined hypoechoic areas

hetrogeneous myometrial echotexture

small anechioc lakes

asymetrical uterine enlargement

indistinct endometrial-myometrial border

subendometrial halo thickening

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histopathologic ultrasonographic ,MRI correlation

small echogenicislands on TVS

characterized by the presence of heterotopic endometrial glands and stroma in the myometrium

bright foci are seen On T2-weighted MR within the myometrium


correspondsto areas of decreased echogenicity on TVS

adjacent smooth muscle hyperplasia.

areas of decreased signal intensity at (MR

The ratio of heterotopic endometrialtissue to smooth muscle decreased echogenicity partly determines the imaging appearance

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normal myometrium (M), homogeneous echotexture


The subendometrial haloas a thin hypoechoic band (arrows).

The endometrium is uniformly echogenic

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E = endometrium


myometrium is thickened ventrally and has a heterogeneous echotexture

The echogenicity of the ventral myometrium is decreased relative to that of the dorsal myometrium

myometrial cyst (curved arrow).

excentric endometrial cavity

decreased uterine echogenicity without lobulations, contour abnormality, or mass effects,

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Brosens and co-workers assessed ultrasonographic details such as:

uterine dimensions

Symmetry of myometrium

echogenicity of the myometrium

They found that The most predictive is theill-defined heterogeneous echotexture within the myometrium.

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Accuracy of endovaginal ultrasonography in the diagnosis of diffuse adenomyosis.







Reinhold et al. (1996)

18/119 (24)





Atzori et al. (1996)

15/175 (86)





Reinhold et al. (1995)

29/100 (29)





Brosens et al. (1995)

28/56 (50)





Asher et al. (1994)

17/20 (85)





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Transvaginal ultrasonography in the differential diagnosis of adenomyoma versus leiomyoma

Transvaginal ultrasonography is an effective, noninvasive, and relatively inexpensive procedure for the preoperative differential diagnosis of adenomyoma versus leiomyoma.

Fedele L, Bianchi S, Dorta M, Zanotti F, Brioschi D, Carinelli SAm J Obstet Gynecol 1992 Sep; 167:603-6

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Transvaginal ultrasonography in the differential diagnosis of adenomyoma versus leiomyoma

Transvaginal sonography is an effective procedure for the preoperative differentiation of adenomyoma from leiomyoma. If the status of the lesion's margins and the presence or absence of hypoechoic lacunae were selected for analysis, leiomyomas could be correctly diagnosed with transvaginal sonography in 95% of cases.

Botsis D, Kassanos D, Antoniou G, Pyrgiotis E, Karakitsos P, Kalogirou DJ Clin Ultrasound 1998 Jan; 26:21-5

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  • MRI should be expected to be excellent in recognizing uterine masses like fibroids, cysts, and adenomyomas if they reach 5 mm. or greater in size. MRI may be able to lead us to expect adenomyosis if the myometrial thickness is increased or the consistency of the myometrium is changed.

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Magnetic resonance imaging was superior to TVS for the diagnosis of adenomyosis.

Magnetic resonance imaging had a higher specificity than TVS, but their sensitivities were in line.

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Comparative study


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Department of Radiology, Georgetown University Medical Center,

20 women with clinically suspected adenomyosis underwent MR imaging and transvaginal Sonography Pathologic proof was obtained in all cases.

17 patients were proved to have adenomyosis.

Correct diag.

False +ve











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Comparative study


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Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Aarhus University and Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark

studied 106 consecutive premenopausal women who underwent hysterectomy for benign reasons.

Transvaginal ultrasonography and MRI were compared with histopathologic examination as the golden standard

22 (21%) patients had adenomyosis.

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On T2-weighted MRI, focal adenomyosis are seen in areas of abnormal low signal intensity within the myometrium in approximately 50% of patients. These foci correspond to islands of heterotopic endometrial tissue, cystic dilatation of heterotopic glands, or hemorrhagic foci.

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On T2-weighted MRI, diffuse adenomyosis usually manifestedas diffuse thickening of the junctional zone with homogeneouslow signal intensity .T2-weighted imaging providedsignificantly better lesion detection than unenhanced or contrastmaterial–enhanced T1-weighted imaging

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Sagittal T1-weighted MR image shows a mildly enlarged anteverted uterus. The junctional zone is isointense relative to the myometrium.

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Sagittal T2-weighted MR image shows diffuse, even thickening of the junctional zone (arrows), a finding consistent with diffuse adenomyosis

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Extensive involvement of diffuse adenomyosis in a 42-year-old woman. Sagittal T2-weighted MR image demonstrates diffuse areas of low signal intensity involving most of the uterus (straight arrows) and punctate high-signal-intensity foci (arrowhead). A few small nabothian cysts (curved arrows) are seen in the uterine cervix.

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The only definitive treatment for adenomyosis is total hysterectomy, with or without ovarian conservation.

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Gonadotropin releasing hormone agonists in the treatment of adenomyosis with infertility

  • GnRH- agonists is efficient in reducing the adenomyotic uterine size, and may facilitate fertility.

    (2) For ademyomata associated with infertility, GnRH-alpha therapy may avoid the risk of rupture of uterus which may occur after adenomyomectomy pregnancy.

    (3) For infertility, GnRH-alpha treatment before laparoscopic surgery greatly decreases surgical difficulties and blood loss in certain cases.

Obstetricts and Gynecology Hospital, Shanghai Medical University, Shanghai 200011

Zhonghua Fu Chan Ke Za Zhi 1999 Apr; 34:214-6

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conservative surgery for adenomyosis

The conservative surgery for adenomyoma can reduce symptom and raise pregnancy rate significantly, it can be accepted by young women who want to preserve their reproductive capacity.

Though the pregnancy rate of conservative surgery for diffused adenomyosis was low, it still has therapeutic value

Zhongguo Yi Xue Ke Xue Yuan Xue Bao 1998 Dec; 20:440-4

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Uterine arterial embolization in the treatment of adenomyosis

UAE procedures were performed in 23 patients with adenomyosis. After treatment the symptoms and uterine volume of all patients were investigated.

  • All clinical symptoms of 23 patients relieved.

  • Dysmenorrhea completely disappeared in 19 patients, significantly alleviated in 2 patients. But in other 2 recurred.

  • The uterine volume shrunk significantly [(50 +/- 18)%] vs [(100 +/- 0)%].

  • The blood flow within the uterine and lesions detect by color doppler flow imaging decreased immediately after UAE.

  • Low-abdominal pain and slight fever were seen after treatment and recovered within 1 - 2 weeks.

Chen C, Liu P, Lu J, Yu L, Ma B, Wang J, Liu PZhonghua Fu Chan Ke Za Zhi 2002 Feb; 37:77-9

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Uterine arterial embolization in the treatment of adenomyosis

UAE is an effective and safe method in the treatment of adenomyosis.

BUT the recurrence rate is not yet evaluated.

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