Can endometriosis be seen on a scan?
While it’s possible to see the effects of endometriosis on some scans (e.g. an ultrasound or MRI), it will depend on the type and location of the disease as well as the expertise of the person looking at the scan.
For example, some scans can show endometriomas or ‘chocolate cysts’ on the ovaries, which is usually an indication that a person might have endometriosis.
If there are adhesions that are thick and dense enough to pull organs out of place or ‘hide’ them, the person performing the scan might suspect endometriosis based on the position of those organs.
Sometimes, deeper patches of endometriosis can show up on an MRI scan but there is no guarantee. Endometriosis is complex, and it can show up in lots of different ways and locations in the body, making it tricky to diagnose. It also takes specialist expertise to be able to spot endometriosis and adhesions on scans.
Just because a scan is ‘clear’, it doesn’t mean that there’s no endometriosis there. The only way to be sure is through a diagnostic laparoscopy. Read more about this on our page about the diagnosis pathway.