In general, you only need endometriosis surgery if you –
1. Want to have kids and have a large endometrioma (endometriosis cyst within the ovary) or
2. Are completely done with wanting kids and wish to have definitive surgery – removal of both ovaries (with or without hysterectomy).
Surgery rarely ‘cures’ endometriosis unless the surgery is removal of both ovaries (with or without hysterectomy). Removing both ovaries takes away most of a woman’s production of estrogen hormone which stimulates endometriosis tissue and may cause it to grow.
Any other surgery (laparoscopy with laser treatment or cautery or excision of endometriosis, and/or removal of endometriosis cysts) may not remove all the endometriosis in your pelvis – even if your surgeon destroys or excises all visible spots of endometriosis on the surface of the uterus or behind the uterus, on or in the ovaries or on the pelvic side wall, there may be deeper areas of endometriosis not visible on laparoscopy which are missed. Endometriosis may also be hidden underneath areas of scarring.
Because of the above, some women get good pain relief after surgery to treat endometriosis, and some women don’t get good pain relief after surgery. Women with significant endometriosis (more than just a few spots on the surface of the uterus or ovaries) often do better with surgery to confirm the diagnosis and to treat visible disease, followed by Depo-Lupron injections to suppress any endometriosis that’s left behind, than with surgery alone. Surgery alone may provide short term relief of endometriosis pain (a few months up to a few years) before the disease and pain symptoms recur. Women who undergo multiple laparoscopies may get diminishing returns, with less and less pain relief with each successive laparoscopy.
Depo-Lupron can be used on its own without laparoscopy too – it also (but reversibly) takes away most of a woman’s production of estrogen hormone which stimulates endometriosis tissue. If you have pelvic pain symptoms suggesting endometriosis and your pain goes away with Depo-Lupron you are at least 80% likely to have endometriosis.
If you want to try to conceive and you have only small endometriomas, or early stage endometriosis without any endometriosis cysts visible on ultrasound, the surgery may do more harm than good by damaging some normal ovary tissue, which can reduce your ovarian reserve (the number of eggs left in your ovaries).
So the answer is complex but in summary – not everyone with endometriosis needs surgery – it is only definitely needed for big endometriosis cysts or women who are done childbearing. Unless you have both ovaries removed cure is unlikely, but you may get benefit in terms of reducing your pain for a period of time. Medical treatment with Depo-Lupron after surgery often gives better pain control than just surgery. Depo-Lupron can be used on its own without surgery, too.