Questions for your Doctor

Below is a list of questions to ask your doctor about Endometriosis and treatment options. It can also be used to determine their level of experience and skill with surgery. This list can be extremely useful when seeking out a new doctor. Note: If you are considering a robotic assisted surgery, be sure to ask about their experience with a standard laparoscopy vs. robot assisted surgery as it applies to each of these questions.

Generals about the Doctor

1)     How do you stay current with Endometriosis treatments and medications?

2)     Are you a member of any Endometriosis-related organizations?

3)     What is your stance on the major myths about Endometriosis? (Cured by hysterectomy/pregnancy)

4)     Did you train under another surgeon? If so, whom and for how long?

5)     Do you track the results of your Endometriosis patients?

6)     How many of your patients are pain free after 6 months, 1 year, 3 years, 5 years?

7)     What is the rate of recurrence of Endometriosis for your patients

8)     Have you had complaints against you? If so what are they? How were they resolved?

9)     Have you had lawsuits in the past 25 years? If so what are they? How were they resolved?

 

Doctor’s Office

1)     What are your regular office hours?

2)     Are you available during evening hours and/or on the weekends in an emergency?

3)     How long are your standard appointments? Am I able to request a longer appointment if needed?

4)     Do your nurses and office staff understand Endometriosis?

5)     Is your office staff compassionate about patients struggling with chronic pain?

6)     Explain the process for us to call in with urgent needs? i.e. triage nurse or phone system

 

Treatment Options:

1)     What is your standard process of treatments for Endometriosis?

2)     Do you always use medical therapy before surgical therapy?

3)     What kinds of hormonal medications do you prefer to use?

4)     What kinds of side effects can I expect to experience with the different hormonal therapies?

5)     How long do I have to be on these medications for them to work effectively?

6)     Will my endometriosis come back when my course of treatment is over?

7)     Do you use GnRH agonists? If so, when? Before or after surgery?

8)     How do you handle pain management until we can find successful treatment?

9)     What do you offer for natural hormone therapy?

10)  Can you recommend alternative treatments for pain? (Chinese medicine, diet changes, homeopathy)

11)  Can you refer me to other practitioners who specialize in natural treatment?

12)  Do you offer natural treatment options to manage pain for people without insurance and can’t afford expensive medications?

13)  Will you continue to help patients for recurring pain after a hysterectomy?

14)  What are the follow up and long term treatment options after a hysterectomy?

 

Questions related to Fertility:

1)     Does endometriosis affect my ability to have children?

2)     What treatment for Endometriosis can help to improve my fertility?

3)     How many IVF cycles do you do each year?

4)     What are the success rates for women my age with endometriosis?

5)     What are your overall live birth success rates?

6)     Can I use alternative therapies during my medical regimen?

7)     Do you have contact with donor egg, embryo and surrogacy programs?

8)     Will my health insurance cover the cost of the endometriosis treatment? Infertility treatment?

9)     If my insurance won’t cover the financial costs, do you have a payment plan?

10)  Can I call you or someone on your nursing staff directly if I have questions or problems with fertility treatment?

 

Questions regarding their skills as a surgeon

1)     How many laparoscopies to diagnose and treat Endometriosis have you performed? (How many per month/year/lifetime)

2)     What do you expect to accomplish with laparoscopy outcome, i.e., restore fertility/pain relief?

3)     Will you biopsy the tissue to diagnose and prove Endometriosis?

4)     Will you provide me with a classification stage after surgery? (There are 4 stages)

5)     How many of your patients have Stage 4 Endometriosis?

6)     What are you intentions during surgery? (Diagnose and/or remove)

7)     If the surgery will be strictly for diagnosis and not removal, what is the reason for that?

8)     What method will you use to remove the Endometriosis? Will you do laser vaporization or cut the Endometriosis and adhesions out with excision?

9)     How successful do you believe that method is and why?

10)  Will you take as much time as needed to remove all Endometriosis regardless of complication?

11)  Will you preserve my organs?

12)  Do you check for Endometriosis on other organs – i.e. bowel, bladder, appendix

13)  Do you perform rectal exams?

14)  Will a bowel resection be necessary?

15)  Are you capable of having other surgeons (bladder/bowel) in the operating room? If so, who are they and how often do they perform these surgeries, what is their success rate, have you operated with them before, how confident are you in their ability and skills?

16)  How often do you have other surgeons (bladder/bowel) in the operating room?

17)  Will adhesion barriers be used? If so, what kind? If not, why not?

 

Before/After Surgery:

1)     How long do you expect the surgery to take?

2)     How many incisions do you expect to make and where?

3)     Can you explain to me what Endometriosis looks like? Shape/color.

4)     Will you provide me with copies of surgical reports and pictures or videotapes?

5)     Will you be performing a standard laparoscopy or robot assisted laparoscopy?

6)     What are the advantages of standard laparoscopy vs. robotic?

7)     If it will be robotic will I have more incisions, will the recovery be longer?

8)     Do I have a choice over standard laparoscopy vs. robotic?

9)     Why do you believe standard/robotic is better than the other?

10)  How have the majority of your patients felt after surgery?

11)  What is the general length of recovery after surgery? How much time should I expect to take off of work?

12)  How do you handle pain management after surgery? What are my options?

13)  What should I do in case of an emergency after I return home from surgery?

14)  Will you call my significant other/family/friend in the waiting area to give a status update and/or permission to remove organ(s)?

15)  Will you discuss the surgery outcome with my significant other/family/friend immediately following surgery? Can they record it on a digital voice recorder?

 

Click Here to download Questions for your Doctor to bring to your next doctor appointment! You may want to tailor these questions to your specific needs prior to bringing them to the doctor’s office with you.

 

*Questions from a variety of sources including The Mayo Clinic, Attain Fertility, EndoBook, Fit & Health, and Nancy Petersen, R.N.. This list is only meant to be a guide for suggested questions to ask your doctor to grasp a better understanding of their experience and skill as a surgeon. Additional research may be necessary. Always be your own advocate!

 

 

 

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