We are proud to have recently invested $128,000 to help purchase a new 3D ultrasound machine for the Surrey Chronic Pain Clinic at Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre. The Surrey Chronic Pain Clinic is the only clinic in the Fraser Health region with a specialty in treating pelvic pain and endometriosis.

Dr. Claudine Storness-Bliss is an obstetrician-gynecologist (OBGYN) and pelvic pain specialist at the Surrey Chronic Pain Clinic, and she explains that 3D ultrasound technology can improve the physician’s ability to accurately diagnose certain gynecological concerns compared to the traditional 2D ultrasounds. 3D ultrasound technology is more accurate and sensitive in defining and mapping abnormalities like uterine lesions and adhesions, congenital uterine anomalies, fibroid tumors and endometrial polyps in the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries.

“Pelvic pain in women is often complex and particularly difficult to diagnose because the cause can be a result of many complicated health conditions and abnormalities,” says Dr. Claudine Storness-Bliss. “As the only chronic pain clinic specializing in pelvic pain in the Fraser Health region, it is crucial that we are equipped with the latest technologies to help specialists better diagnose and treat these health conditions. The 3D ultrasound technology has already helped hundreds of women at our clinic in the last 12 months, and it’s thanks to Surrey Hospitals Foundation donors for their generous contribution.”

Chronic pelvic pain can be a disabling, chronic, persistent pain lasting month or years, within the pelvis in women. It is a common condition that, according to one U.S. study, affects an estimated 15 to 20 percent of women, ages 18 to 50.

Additionally, endometriosis is a difficult, painful, and complicated disease that affects approximately one million women in Canada. The disease can involve multiple organ systems, often resulting in debilitating chronic pain and infertility, carrying an estimated annual health care cost of $1.8 billion.

Jennifer Marchbank is a 56-year-old patient of Dr. Storness-Bliss who was diagnosed with ovarian adhesion caused by endometriosis (her ovary was attached to the pelvic side wall) with the help of the 3D ultrasound technology. Jennifer has suffered from debilitating pain caused by endometriosis since her youth, and has gone through a number of medical diagnoses and procedures in the last 20 years. It wasn’t until Dr. Storness-Bliss diagnosed her and she underwent minimally invasive surgery that she became pain free.

“Many women like me who have chronic pelvic pain and endometriosis suffer in silence for years because often times doctors attribute this as a ‘normal’ part of female reproductive health,” says Jennifer. “What people don’t realize is that this pain is often debilitating and impacts our daily lives greatly. I encourage all women who have health concerns to be proactive in seeking medical help and to push to see specialists. If it wasn’t for Dr. Storness-Bliss and the Surrey Chronic Pain Clinic and the innovative technologies they have, I would still be suffering in pain.”