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WTOP | When To Seek a GYN Specialist: Fibroids, Endometriosis, And Pelvic Pain

WTOP Not all OBGYNs are GYN Specialists: Why, When, and How to Seek a Second Opinion (WTOP Article)


Forming a long-lasting bond with an OBGYN is normal. They answer the hard questions about delicate matters, deliver our children, and well-woman exams often replace annual physicals. When a patient finds the right doctor for her, consulting a specialist may feel like a betrayal. While a woman’s relationship with her OBGYN is extremely beneficial, there are times when it can become necessary to look for additional support and resources. Complex GYN conditions — such as fibroids, endometriosis, and polyps — can be diagnosed by an OBGYN, but, often, they lack sufficient experience or training in advanced minimally invasive techniques for hysterectomymyomectomy, or endometriosis excision. As a result, many women unnecessarily undergo more invasive procedures. When surgery is necessary, unless the OBGYN is fellowship-trained in advanced laparoscopy, it could be time to seek a second opinion from a GYN surgical specialist.


An OBGYN knows some of the most intimate details of your body, and you may feel unsure that another provider could know the ins and outs of your health as well. This isn’t a problem if you find yourself in good health. However, if you’re suffering from symptoms such as anemia due to heavy bleeding, pelvic pain, difficulty going to the bathroom, pain with sex, or infertility, you could be suffering from endometriosis, fibroids, adenomyosis, ovarian cysts, or polyps. These conditions may require surgery for treatment. When surgery is recommended, it’s important to get specific and ask important questions related to your symptoms, and always seek a second opinion for a precise diagnosis and available treatment options.


“When it comes to GYN surgery, patient volume is crucial,” said Paul MacKoul, MD. “Low-volume surgeons may not have enough experience with complex conditions, which can put patients at risk.”

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), an OBGYN performs an average of 27 hysterectomy procedures a year. Many of these procedures are performed as open surgeries, specifically for large fibroids or an enlarged uterus. The definition of a high-volume surgeon is that he or she must perform a minimum of 51 hysterectomy cases per year.

Dr. Paul MacKoul continues, “The benefit of a high-volume laparoscopic GYN specialist is that he or she is exposed to more complex cases and maintains a level of practice that ensures they are performing at a high skill level. It has been shown that lower-volume surgeons have a higher risk of complications due to the techniques used and the frequency of the surgeries performed.”

The advanced specialists at CIGC perform hundreds of hysterectomy cases annually. On average, CIGC surgeons perform 2,000 laparoscopic GYN surgeries annually, including hysterectomy, myomectomy, endometriosis excision, pelvic adhesion removal, and ovarian cystectomy. CIGC provides high-skill and high-volume laparoscopic surgeries that contribute to an incomparable level of expertise.

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