Background
Clinician and patient factors impact on the management of chronic pelvic pain (CPP) with medical, surgical or combined approaches possible, although none have proven superior.

Aims
To understand the characteristics of women offered laparoscopic pelvic surgery for CPP.

Materials and methods
We performed an observational study of women referred with CPP. They were asked to complete a study questionnaire regarding their symptoms, medical history, quality of life and pain catastrophisation. Examination and ultrasound findings were collected from patient records. Gynaecologists who recommended a laparoscopy completed a survey detailing their reasoning at the time of booking. The outcomes were investigated using a Cox proportional hazards ratio (HR) model.

Results
Of 211 participants, 59 (28%) were booked for laparoscopic surgery during the study timeframe. Factors increasing the rate of laparoscopy included severe dysmenorrhoea (Cox HR = 1.94; P = 0.017), unsuccessful trial of hormonal therapy (Cox HR = 1.81; P = 0.044), prior abdominal surgery (Cox HR = 1.79; P = 0.030), prior pelvic laparoscopy (Cox HR = 2.00; P = 0.007) and past diagnosis of endometriosis (Cox HR = 5.44; P = 0.010). Abnormal vaginal examination (Cox HR = 2.86; P = 0.019) and ultrasound probe tenderness (Cox HR = 2.52; P < 0.001) also increased the likelihood of surgery. Surgical and non‐surgical patients did not differ in family history, quality of life or pain catastrophisation. Of gynaecologists’ questionnaires, 75% were returned. Results indicated they were most influenced by the severity or duration of pain and least by examination or ultrasound findings. Conclusions The characteristics of women booked for surgery were in keeping with the features evidence suggests increases the risk of pathology. There were some discrepancies between patient characteristics elicited in the questionnaires and those indicated by gynaecologists to influence their decision.