Wednesday, January 28, 2009

When less is too much - unnecessary surgery for infertile women

While it is true that minimally invasive surgery ( such as laparoscopy) is better for infertile patient as compared to open surgery ( because of the reduced risk of post operative adhesions, for example) , one major disadvantage of these procedures is the fact that they are so overused.

Because it is such "simple" surgery which "does not involve making a cut" and is done on a day-care basis, many doctors overuse and misuse this. It's quite easy to convince patients to undergo laparoscopic surgery, because the procedure is short and simple, and healing occurs quickly.

However, no surgery is always far better than "minimal surgery" - and often these procedures are not needed at all. Unfortunately, many doctors tend to subject patients with minor abnormalities on vaginal ultrasound scanning to laparoscopic surgery, so they can "check out" what the abnormlity is; and then fix it.

The combination of vaginal ultrasound scanning and minimally invasive surgery has led to a huge surge in unnecessary surgery for infertile women . Ultrasound machines can easily pick up "lesions" such as small cysts and fibroids. These are often just normal anatomic variants, which are often found in fertile women, and have no impact on fertility at all. However, infertile women are emtionally very vulnerable; and are desperate to "find the reason for the infertility" so that it can be corrected. Doctors are often happy to exploit this, and many patients are thus subjected to procedures which they did not need in the first place !

Let the patient beware !
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