Choosing an Endometriosis Surgeon
If you are dealing with endometriosis, there may come a time when you decide to have surgery. Before you make this decision, you need to feel confident in the surgeon you choose. Finding a surgeon for endometriosis can be challenging. Few doctors in the United States specialize in endometriosis.1
Knowing what resources are available and what questions to ask can help you choose the best surgeon for you.
When you may need an endometriosis surgeon
Endometriosis is the presence of uterine-like tissue growing abnormally outside of the uterus. Along with problems such as pain and infertility, people with endometriosis can develop chronic fatigue syndrome and other autoimmune inflammatory diseases.2
If your endometriosis causes a lot of pain or impacts your daily life, it may be time to find a surgeon.
Resources for finding the right surgeon
You can, of course, consult your family doctor or gynecologist for a referral to an endometriosis surgeon. National endometriosis support groups and online forums might be good resources, too.1
Questions to ask
You will need to gather as much information as possible before selecting a surgeon. Here is a list of questions to keep in mind:3
- Surgical skills – Has the surgeon performed many endometriosis surgeries in the past? Do they have access to the latest surgical equipment and techniques?
- Ability to communicate – Do they speak in understandable terms? Do they avoid using complicated medical jargon and allow you time to ask questions?
- Approach to surgery – What are their plans to treat your endometriosis? Is the plan to use a minimally invasive approach such as laparoscopy? Will they burn (ablate) or cut out (excise) the endo lesions?
- Affiliations and team – Do they belong to a hospital that regularly treats endometriosis? What other team members will take part in the surgery? How will the team work together to achieve the desired outcome?
- Thoughts on hormone therapy and pain – What is their position on birth control and other drugs that treat endometriosis? Will they suggest using hormonal treatments after surgery? How will they manage your pain after surgery?
Other things to consider
Before making a final decision, you may want to get a good feel for the office staff. Are they professional and return your calls? If a disorganized office makes your head spin, you may want to keep looking.
If cost is a concern to you, make sure you ask about this, too. Do they take insurance? If so, what kinds of insurance do they take? Are they inside or outside of your insurance network? What out-of-pocket expenses can you expect? Asking these types of questions upfront may eliminate a lot of hassle later.
Should you live in a rural location or small town, you may need to seek care in a large metro area. Endometriosis surgeons are often affiliated with hospitals in big cities.1
If you are willing to travel, you will need to account for extra expenses. You will need to budget transportation, meals, lodging, and other costs.
You also need to think about how long you will have to wait for your surgery. The surgeon you selected may have a long waiting list of patients ahead of you. Timing is also an important factor to consider.
For some endo warriors, the surgeon's gender is not necessarily a concern. What matters most is their ability to reduce your pain and improve your quality of life.
Making the decision
When it comes down to it, the most important thing is that you are comfortable with the surgeon. You should feel confident in their surgical abilities and like their bedside manner. Do not be afraid to seek a second opinion or visit several surgeons before making your final choice.
Would you like to talk to others in the endometriosis community about selecting a surgeon to treat your endometriosis? Reach out in our forums.
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