Endometriosis Awareness Month

March 18, 2021


5 ways NCIMI’s partners are using medical imaging to support women living with endometriosis

An estimated 1.5 million UK women are living with endometriosis – a chronic health condition where cells similar to the lining of the womb are found elsewhere in the body.

March marks Endometriosis Awareness Month, and this awareness-raising is critical, as charity Endometriosis UK has found that 62% of women avoid going to the doctor because they don’t believe their symptoms are serious enough.

Endometriosis Awareness Month NCIMI.
Endometriosis Awareness Month ribbon

Currently, endometriosis is usually diagnosed through laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery.

NCIMI’s partners are leading the way in aiming to develop non-surgical procedures incorporating AI, such as ultrasound and MRI, to diagnose the condition, ultimately leading to faster treatment options.

Here are 5 ways NCIMI and its partners are working in this space

  1. NCIMI’s early diagnosis and treatment programme for Endometriosis exemplar project: Using machine learning to automatically detect bladder endometriosis lesions as bladder wall in Ultrasound and MR images. https://ncimi.co.uk/project/endometriosis/

The DEFEND study team at Perspectum, GEHC and King’s Fertility are happy to report that we have received full ethical approval to recruit patients to the endometriosis study. Obviously in light of the pandemic, research has taken a significant hit as the NHS prioritises the fight against COVID, however we hope to begin the recruitment of patients in June 2021. 

In the meantime we have received feedback from key stakeholders and clinicians as to how this technology could be incorporated into the patient pathway emphasising the importance of this study. Whilst more research is required to confirm the accuracy of this technology, the initial feedback received suggests that advancements in imaging and AI technology could help to speed up the diagnosis of endometriosis without the need for invasive laparoscopy, as well as potentially support surgical planning. 

We have also been working collectively to improve our data systems to ensure we can efficiently collect appropriate and informative data on this patient population. 

We look forward to starting this collaborative project as soon as possible in order to help develop future imaging and AI technology in the diagnosis and management of patients with endometriosis.

2. King’s Fertility’s Dr James Duffy on Cochrane evidence for the use of ultrasound scanning for diagnosis: https://www.evidentlycochrane.net/ultrasound-for-diagnosing-endometriosis-the-latest-evidence/

3. GE Healthcare on how transvaginal ultrasound can diagnose deep infiltrating endometriosis: https://www.volusonclub.net/empowered-womens-health/laparoscopy-vs-transvaginal-ultrasound-for-diagnosing-deep-infiltrating-endometriosis/

4. Using MRI scanning to diagnose: https://www.volusonclub.net/empowered-womens-health/diagnosing-endometriosis-by-comparing-mri-and-transvaginal-ultrasound/, also from GE Healthcare.

5. GE Healthcare’s Cindy Smrt on how to treat endometriosis after diagnosis: https://www.volusonclub.net/empowered-womens-health/how-to-treat-endometriosis-after-diagnosis/