Endometriosis classification, staging and reporting systems: a review on the road to a universally accepted endometriosis classification
Background: In the field of endometriosis, several classification, staging and reporting systems have been developed. However, endometriosis classification, staging and reporting systems that have been published and validated for use in clinical practice have not been systematically reviewed up to now.
Objectives: The aim of the current review is to provide a historical overview of these different systems based on an assessment of published studies.
Materials and Methods: A systematic Pubmed literature search was performed. Data were extracted and summarised.
Results: Twenty-two endometriosis classification, staging and reporting systems have been published between 1973 and 2021, each developed for specific and different purposes. There is still no international agreement on how to describe the disease. Studies evaluating different systems are summarised showing a discrepancy between the intended and the evaluated purpose, and a general lack of validation data confirming a correlation with pain symptoms or quality of life for any of the current systems. A few studies confirm the value of the Enzian system for surgical description of deep endometriosis. With regards to infertility, the endometriosis fertility index has been confirmed valid for its intended purpose.
Conclusions: Of the 22 endometriosis classification, staging and reporting systems identified in this historical overview, only a few have been evaluated, in 46 studies, for the purpose for which they were developed. It can be concluded that there is no international agreement on how to describe endometriosis or how to classify it, and that most classification/staging systems show no or very little correlation with patient outcomes.
What is new? This overview of existing systems is a first step in working towards a universally accepted endometriosis classification.