In 2020, we established a type of treatment at the Women’s Hospital where endometriosis patients are cared for by a multi-professional team. We aim to provide care that is as customized as possible to relieve the patient’s symptoms and to preserve their fertility.
Endometriosis – a condition where tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus grows outside the uterus – is principally treated with hormonal treatments, but severe cases require surgery. Endometriosis presents with such individually varying symptoms that providing good care may require the expertise of multiple professions.
In 2019, Professor Aila Tiitinen and Docent, Deputy Chief Physician Päivi Härkki launched a project resulting in the establishing of an endometriosis outpatient clinic that is open two days a week at the Women’s Hospital. Previously, the treatment of demanding cases of endometriosis was the responsibility of just one specialist.
“The team now includes six gynecologists, fertility treatment, pain and anesthesia specialists, a bowel surgeon, a urologist, a sexual therapist, radiologists, physiotherapists and nurses,” says Päivi Härkki.
We also developed processes for surgical and inpatient treatment of the condition. We added three expert gynecologists to the surgical treatment of endometriosis in addition to the one specialist previously assigned to the operations. Patients destined for surgery are supported on the ward by an endometriosis nurse, three physiotherapists and two physicians specializing in pain management.
Digital care path and robot-assisted surgery to improve care in the future
Here at the Women’s Hospital our spearhead goal is to profile ourselves as one of the leading centers for endometriosis treatment in Europe, particularly for severe cases requiring surgery.
“Going forward, we intend to invest heavily in robot surgery. This will allow us to perform endometriosis surgery on young women at a high level of quality, conserving their fertility. As we aim to become the leading experts in gynecological surgery in Europe, we will also be able to take care of Finland’s most demanding cases of endometriosis,” says Tomi Mikkola, Head of Gynecological Surgery Activities at HUS.
We are also envisioning a digital care path for endometriosis patients whereby patients can receive virtual and independent guidance for treating their condition. We also intend to develop a model for providing psychological support.
At the Women’s Hospital and at the Gynecological Outpatient Clinic in Ruoholahti, we handle more than 2,000 outpatient visits with an endometriosis diagnosis each year. We perform 350 to 400 endometriosis surgeries at the Women’s Hospital each year. The endometriosis outpatient clinic forms part of the Gynecological Outpatient Clinic at the Women’s Hospital.