Intelligent Ultrasound Calls for More Specialist Training for Endometriosis Scanning

ScanTrainer Endometriosis Module

Intelligent Ultrasound Calls for More Specialist Training for Endometriosis Scanning

Intelligent Ultrasound is calling for more sonographers to be trained to identify complex cases of endometriosis, so that patients can be diagnosed and referred for treatment sooner — Train, identify and diagnose.

Endometriosis is a painful condition where cells, similar to the ones in the lining of the womb, are found elsewhere in the body. Each month these cells react in the same way to those in the womb, building up and then breaking down and bleeding. Unlike the cells in the womb that leave the body as part of the menstrual cycle, this blood has no way to escape and can cause inflammation, pain, the formation of scar tissue (adhesions) and potential infertility.

According to the WHO, 10% of women worldwide have endometriosis – that’s 176 million across the globe.

Yet the average time between when a patient first sees a GP with symptoms to diagnosis is now more than 8 years, according to a study by Endometriosis UK. A study out of the University of Manchester found women feel “gaslit” by their doctors when complaining about the agonising symptoms of endometriosis and aren’t being given the important scans they need to be referred for treatment. Meanwhile their endometriosis becomes more severe.

Endometriosis UK said:Latest research undertaken by Endometriosis UK has revealed that getting a diagnosis for endometriosis now takes an average of 8 years and 10 months; an increase of 10 months since 2020. This lengthy wait means a delay in accessing treatment, during which time the disease may progress, leading to worsening physical symptoms and a risk of permanent organ damage.

“Gynaecological imaging techniques have developed in recent years, especially around ultrasound. With recent developments in imaging, healthcare practitioners with the right training, skills, experience and equipment, are able to identify some types of endometriosis, along with some presentations of adenomyosis, through an ultrasound or sometimes MRI. However, at present, the right equipment and the medical professionals with the right skills and experience are only available at a limited number of specialist endometriosis centres.”

Transvaginal Sonography (TVS) is a cost-effective, first-line technique for diagnosing endometriosis. Because the disease can take various forms in multiple locations, sonographers would benefit from extra training and experience identifying it.

Intelligent Ultrasound’s ScanTrainer endometriosis simulation module trains sonographers to identify the various and more complex forms of the disease, with 24 cases of endometriosis in a range of locations, including in the bowel, bladder and ligaments.

Kathryn Jenner, head of simulation R&D at Intelligent Ultrasound, said: “Ultrasound is a cost-effective tool for the diagnosis of endometriosis where 1 in 10 women and those assigned female of birth endure prolonged suffering. The use of our technology will help to expand the number of sonographers trained to scan for this incredibly painful condition and ensure timely intervention that will improve patient outcomes while reducing treatment costs.”

With additional specialist training in identifying endometriosis, more sonographers would be able to perform the necessary scans and reduce time to diagnosis.

Endometriosis UK continues: “Endometriosis UK is calling for the Government in England to plan, fund and implement more widespread access to gynaecological imaging as well as Governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to identify and deliver an accessible and effective gynaecological imaging service. Further to this, Professional bodies should improve and implement training in gynaecological imaging for sonographers, radiologists, radiographers and other relevant medical practitioners.”

For more information on ScanTrainer and its endometriosis module, click here.