Treatment at the CEC | Meet the CEC Team | Ask the CEC
The Center for Endometriosis Care (CEC) is a COEMIG-designated center of excellence in minimally invasive gynecology. The Center was founded by Laparoendoscopic excision and endometriosis pioneer Dr. Robert B. Albee, Jr.* over two decades ago. It is led today by endometriosis expert and excision surgeon, CEC Medical Director Dr. Ken Sinervo. Our practice is based around four founding principles:
Recognizing subtle disease in all its manifestations;
Removing endometriosis from all areas, while preserving healthy tissue and organs;
Performing pathological examination on all excised tissue; and above all else -
Treating patients with respect and compassion as true partners in their care.
We were among the first tertiary referral centers specifically founded to focus on endometriosis and advanced surgical excision of the disease in patients of all ages from around the world. As the premiere center of excellence for gold standard treatment, we specialize in comprehensive Laparoscopic Excision – or as we have coined, “LAPEX.” The CEC considers it a privilege to serve the needs of all those in the endometriosis community and offers many services, including but not limited to:
- Free records review and phone consult for potential excision candidates.
- Accumulating data about results of our surgeries, currently comprised of nearly 5,000 global patients from over 40 countries, dating twenty years out; this represents the largest ongoing observational study of its kind specifically focused on patients treated exclusively through complete surgical excision and based on the details of more than 8,100 combined procedures. This proprietary data includes pain relief, recurrence rates, subsequent surgical procedures if any, pregnancies, pelvic diagnostic findings, post-operative quality of life and much more as reported by patients along with subsequent medical/surgical findings.
- Two highly detailed websites thoroughly reviewing endometriosis and all related topics in both lay and professional terms at www.centerforendo.com and www.centerforendometriosiscare.com.
- Robust lay and professional education programs, including lectures/engagements at AAGL, APGO, SLS, surgical film fest, nursing schools, medical schools, health classes from grade 7-university level, legislators, media, corporations, public events, etc.
- Training, surgical preceptorships and fellowship opportunities for qualified gynecologic surgeons wishing to learn LAPEX from around the world.
- Surgical industry collaboration for product consulting and procedural refinements to maximize patient outcome and develop technology.
- Research facilitation and contributions to the academic literature.
And much more. Our singular, most critical focus is on healing and restoring quality of life in those affected by this disease. To that end, we have unique experience with and understanding of the far-reaching impact this disease has on affected shareholder’s lives, as members of our staff personally experienced endometriosis. There IS hope, and there ARE solutions available.
Endometriosis is a highly misunderstood illness which knows no socio-economic, religious or racial barriers. The disease has the capacity to exact immeasurable toll on every aspect of the health and well-being of approximately 176 million women and girls– and even rare males – from every corner of the globe. Classically considered a disease of women and girls, endometriosis can affect menstruators and non-menstruators alike, as well as those post-hysterectomy and post-menopausal. Often trivialized as simply ‘killer cramps,’ the disease remains often ignored, largely overlooked, and incorrectly treated. The CEC seeks to change this by elevating endometriosis to a priority public health status and working hard to improve the quality of life of all those struggling with the disease through our gold standard surgical approach.
Often misdiagnosed and ineffectively treated, symptoms may persist on a chronic basis – often because endometriosis is rarely treated through the meticulous LAPEX procedure we have been performing here for decades across thousands of cases from every corner of the world. Such incomplete treatment results from even well-meaning physicians who do not recognize endometriosis in all forms or otherwise fail remove it in its entirety, leaving deep disease – along with painful symptoms and pathology - behind. Most patients who come to us have received prior, failed therapies. Suppressive medications and hysterectomy are often recommended as ‘cures’ – which of course they are not. We believe the key to success is removing disease, not organs. While hysterectomy has a place in endometriosis treatment for specific cases, it should never be considered as a first line option. For more information, check out our comprehensive fact sheet here: http://www.centerforendometriosiscare.com/understanding-endometriosis.
(c) Center for Endometriosis Care
Surgical excision is the cornerstone of effective therapy for this disease. Through quality surgery, disease truly can be removed and debulked; allowing the patient’s own adjuncts (e.g. physical therapy, diet/nutrition, exercise, acupuncture, etc.) to be most effective and ensure maximum outcome. LAPEX is the gold standard for the definitive treatment of endometriosis, but is unfortunately practiced by only a few accredited, advanced gynecologic-endoscopic surgeons in the world. Our award-winning staff is among the few in the world who are Board Certified and accredited as such. Excision requires highly advanced surgical expertise and commands intense training on the part of the practitioner, as well as a complete and thorough (and accurate) understanding of endometriosis etiology, pathophysiology, sequela and far-reaching consequences. Above all, genuine compassion for those who battle this insidious illness must be present, and this is what we strive for here at the CEC every day. True recurrence of disease is actually quite low when it is thoroughly and meticulously excised from all locations. Through the LAPEX approach, those struggling with endometriosis, in all ages and stages of disease, have an excellent chance of being pain-free for the long-term, with minimal chance of recurrent or persistent symptoms.
Dr. Sinervo and Dr. Albee have pioneered the use of the C02 laser to *dissect* the disease. Laser excision differs *significantly* from other, less meticulous laser techniques including commonly performed vaporization, which destroys tissue, makes microscopic evaluation impossible and leaves behind endometriosis “roots” – that’s why we don't use such approaches. Importantly, laser is a *tool,* not a *method.* Few use the laser to excise; instead superficially burning some disease and leaving the bulk behind. The CEC surgeons use the laser as a *precision cutting tool*, NOT as a means of tissue destruction.
Although excisional biopsy and resection offers a higher success rate in treating the disease, surgical excision also requires a higher level of surgical skill. As a result, many receive incomplete treatment, which in turn may lead to persistent symptoms and recurrent disease. Those who have undergone repeated surgeries and/or had a hysterectomy still suffer and end up traveling to us for help. Endometriosis of the bowel, bladder and beyond can also be safely and completely removed with the laser through excision, as can dense adhesions and deep, infiltrating peritoneal disease. All excised tissue is sent to the pathology lab for examination. You have the security of knowing exactly what was found and removed in your surgery. We also utilize intraoperative adhesion barriers and surgical techniques to minimize formation of secondary (de novo) adhesions. We work with a full surgical team including colorectal, urologic, thoracic and other surgeon colleagues as needed to ensure all disease, from all areas, is thoroughly resected and removed at the time of your surgery.
Our tracking data indicates that better than 85% of our patients enjoy long-term relief from the disease and its symptoms, including infertility - even in stages III and IV. Of the thousands of patients we are monitoring, averages of 80%-85% continue to have long-term improvement in their quality of life as compared to their pre-surgery status with us. The chance of recurrence of endometriosis following excision of the disease in our hands is in the range of 7%-8%, based on our follow-up data. The overall likelihood of one of these patients requiring another surgery is typically around 12%, which includes surgeries for unrelated factors i.e. hysterectomy for fibroids or adenomyosis, for example, adhesions (which occur approximately 10% of the time), and/or recurring pain. By stark contrast, our long-term, non-recurrence and relief rates are far superior to the 40-60% recurrence rates documented in the literature *within 18 months* in those who have undergone superficial vaporization and other incomplete removal.
Too often, those with endometriosis have been dismissed as neurotic whiners. Their questions were ignored, their challenges unanswered, their requests for help unanswered. Many have been told there is no hope, the pain is in their head, that their disease couldn’t have possibly recurred, or that they are beyond treatment. Here at the Center for Endometriosis Care, this is simply not the case. Our goal is to treat you with respect, validation and compassion. We ask that you become partners with us in health care. We welcome your requests for free materials, questions and comments on every aspect of our program. By letting us know what's working well and what needs improvement, you can contribute to the wquality of the Center for Endometriosis Care for the individuals who come after you.
How can we help you or a loved one? Let us know!
*Dr. Albee is not accepting new surgical cases at this time; however, he would be delighted to see you in the office or review your file. Dr. Sinervo, our Medical Director and head of the CEC, will be very happy to assist you with your surgical care.