Pelvic peritoneal defects and endometriosis: Allen-Masters syndrome revisited

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The peritoneum covering the pelvic viscera is usually smooth and glistening. Defects in the pelvic peritoneum are usually presumed to be acquired. Allen and Masters described such a clinical syndrome, the anatomic cornerstone of which was laceration(s) of uterine supports with resultant defect(s) in the broad and/or uterosacral ligaments. This diagnosis has been made more often recently on the basis of laparoscopic findings alone. Twenty-five cases of pelvic peritoneal defects were documented in a series of 635 consecutive diagnostic laparoscopies done primarily for pelvic pain. None fit the criteria of the Allen-Masters syndrome. Sixty-eight percent had associated endometriosis. It is suggested that pelvic peritoneal defects may be causally related to endometriosis, the disease either attacking presumably previously altered peritoneal surfaces or causing peritoneal scarring, duplication, and reduplication secondary to the cyclic insults of the ectopic endometrium and thereby producing the appearance of traumatic lacerations. Further, it is suggested that when such defects are noted at laparoscopy, the presence of other associated pathologic abnormalities, including endometriosis, should be investigated.




Chatman, D. L. (1981). Pelvic peritoneal defects and endometriosis: Allen-Masters syndrome revisited. Fertility and Sterility, 36(6), 751–756.

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