WTOP | The Questions Women Must Ask Their OBGYNs About Surgery
WHAT TO ASK MY OBGYN ABOUT SURGERY: BRIDGING THE PATIENT INFORMATION GAP FOR COMPLEX GYN CONDITIONS
Too often, the bond established between an OBGYN and the patient can lead to a deficit in treatment options for complex GYN conditions like endometriosis, fibroids, and ovarian cysts. In many cases, patients undergo unnecessary open surgery. Without fully understanding their condition, all of the options available, and the benefits and risks associated with doing nothing at all or choosing a treatment plan, these patients depend solely on the advice of their trusted physician. Being equipped with the important questions to ask is essential to ensure you receive appropriate treatment from the right doctor.
The specialists at The Center for Innovative GYN Care (CIGC®) are committed to providing women with the knowledge they need to speak up. It is important for women to get the correct diagnosis early and not to delay treatment. In many cases, OBGYNs are not trained in the advanced surgical techniques necessary to adequately treat complex GYN conditions and often prescribe hormones or pain management in lieu of surgery. In other cases, they advise their patients to watch and wait. In both scenarios, this may only allow GYN conditions to worsen. Questions about conditions and treatments such as endometriosis, fibroids, laparoscopic endometriosis excision, and hysterectomies can be answered with the experts at CIGC.
SEEKING A LAPAROSCOPIC GYN SPECIALIST IS THE BEST WAY TO TREAT ENDOMETRIOSIS
Endometriosis is one of the most misunderstood and misdiagnosed GYN conditions. Fifty percent of women with endometriosis see at least five healthcare professionals before receiving an accurate diagnosis and/or referral. It is estimated that a woman with endometriosis will have to wait seven to nine years for a proper diagnosis of the disease because it is not visible on any type of diagnostic imaging. During that time, the inflammation caused each month can lead to scarring in the pelvic cavity, which can, in turn, lead to infertility, chronic pain, or difficulty going to the bathroom. While initial symptoms can indicate there is a problem, a laparoscopic endometriosis specialist can diagnose and remove endometriotic lesions in the same procedure. If skilled in advanced techniques like bowel and bladder repair, an endometriosis specialist can thoroughly remove all instances of endometriosis in the pelvic cavity to ensure longer relief from pain.
WHAT TO ASK YOUR GYN SURGEON ABOUT ENDOMETRIOSIS EXCISION:
- Can you treat endometriosis laparoscopically?
- Can you perform endometriosis excision as an outpatient procedure, or will I have to stay overnight in a hospital?
- How many endometriosis excision procedures have you performed?
- Can you safely remove pelvic adhesions or scar tissue?
- Can you safely perform bladder and bowel repairs?
FIBROID TREATMENT IS NOT ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL
Fibroids, another complex but common GYN condition, affect approximately 80 percent of women by age 50. It is common practice for OBGYNs and primary care physicians to simply watch them and wait for treatment. However, as fibroids can grow extremely fast, waiting to remove a small fibroid can lead to a much more complicated removal procedure down the line – and waiting to remove a large fibroid can result in irreversible damage to the uterus, putting fertility at risk.
Even when a treatment is suggested, oftentimes the solution could be an incorrect fit and even problematic. Treating fibroids with uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) can negatively affect fertility. The goal of the embolization is to block the blood flow either to the fibroid or to the uterus. Women are flocking to this technique, as it is a non-surgical approach, without understanding the potential impact on fertility and the fact that it does not prevent new fibroids from growing.
WHAT TO ASK YOUR GYN SURGEON ABOUT FIBROID REMOVAL:
- How do you perform fibroid removal?
- Can you perform a laparoscopic myomectomy or hysterectomy?
- How large are the incisions?
- Is the myomectomy or hysterectomy an outpatient procedure, or will I have to stay overnight in a hospital?
- Can you preserve my uterus for fertility?
- How often do you perform a hysterectomy when you plan to perform a myomectomy?
- What is the recovery time for a fibroid removal procedure?