Continuing my series on fibroid doctors with this final post. I am fortunate to have many contributors here who add helpful comments. A good one on questions to ask a uterine fibroid doctor was left by fibroid free. I’ve edited them slightly to apply to all surgeries or procedures.
- What is your background or specialty (e.g. OB/GYN, GYN surgeon, Reproductive Endocrinologist, Fertility specialist, Interventional Radiologist)?
- How long have you been performing this surgery or procedure?
- How many have you performed?
- How many have turned into a hysterectomy? (This, of course, if you have not chosen hysterectomy.)
- What is the risk that you will need to do another type of procedure once the surgery starts?
- If a hysterectomy is required, do you do a partial (uterus), total (uterus + cervix), or total with removal of ovaries and fallopian tubes (uterus + cervix + ovaries + fallopian tubes) or do you close me up and let me decide for myself?
- [Adding this question for women who have chosen hysterectomy. Many hysterectomies are performed each year for reasons that do not involve fibroids.] Are you comfortable and experienced in performing this surgery in a woman with fibroids of my size, location, and number?
- Do you perform your OWN surgery? Is my case a “teaching” case? Will medical students, interns, or residents be there?
- What do the MRI and ultrasound results really mean? (Get an explanation of all results and terms you do not understand.)
- Do any of my fibroids appear attached to other organs? (This is rare but worth asking if the doctor does not bring it up.)
- What do we need to do going forward? What is the plan? (Sounds like “EclecticGeek’s Master Plan”. )
- What tests do I need prior to the surgery or procedure (e.g. blood work, endometrial biopsy)?
- Do I need any other treatments prior to the surgery or procedure?
- What is the timing of the surgery or procedure? Before my period? After my period?
- Do I need to take iron beforehand?
- Do I need to give my own blood for surgery beforehand?
- Do you use a cell saver (to “clean and circulate my own blood during surgery)?
- What do you typically do during the surgery or procedure? (Get details!)
- How do you stop the fibroids from bleeding when you are removing them?
- What are the potential complications?
- What are the alternative procedures if there are problems?
- Who else is involved with the surgery or procedure (e.g. Anesthesiologist, other doctors on standby)?
- How long does this surgery or procedure take (minutes, hours)?
- How long will I need to be in the hospital (hours, days)?
- What is the recovery time? (I’ll stick a bell curve reference here. )
- How long does it take to heal?
- How long do I need to wait before attempting to get pregnant?
- Will the surgery or procedure affect childbirth (e.g. C-section required)?
Thanks fibroid free!
I’ll just add a few that cover things I came across:
- How will my anemia impact the timing of my surgery or procedure?
- How will you treat my anemia?
- What is the goal of Lupron treatment (e.g. helping the anemia, shrinking fibroids)? Side effects?
- What type of anesthesia is used with this surgery or procedure (e.g. general, conscious sedation)? Side effects?
- How is pain during and after managed? What medications? Side effects?
- How much time needs to pass between procedures?
- What follow-up care will I receive?
- What is the estimated cost?
- What costs, if any, will be covered by my insurance? (This is especially important with ExAblate since it’s still relatively new.)
- Will my life change? Will I need to make changes in my work, family life, and leisure time?
- How will you know that my surgery or procedure is working (has worked)?
- What symptoms or problems post-op should I report right away?
- What are the chances that my fibroids come back with the treatment options we have discussed?
- Will I still be able to have children after treatment?
- What is the best time to call you if I have a question?
Make sure that all your questions and concerns are answered. Keep calling your doctor if necessary. Prepare a list of questions and take notes. I have a separate composition notebook to record fibroid stuff. My Interventional Radiologist kept wondering what I scribbled as I sat in my hospital bed post-UFE.
Tell me your thoughts and what questions you have asked your doctor(s).