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Thorough information as a precondition for a successful operation

So long as everything is in order in the abdomen, women do not in general know the exact functions of the female organs. Only if severe complaints are manifest – and at the very latest if an operation is imminent – are questions asked. The vast majority of women then rely on their gynecologist. And if he is of the opinion that they should undergo surgery, they accept this decision without questioning it. While they may have certain reservations regarding this matter, as a rule they do not dare to keep asking until they are sure how they wish to be treated. In principle, in our present climate doctors have too little time for in-depth discussions. This is understandable if one bears in mind that time invested in discussions is not properly remunerated. And sensing the doctor's impatience can make the patient feel inhibited. 

But, do not be afraid to ask the doctor questions. Don't be shy in saying: "You have looked after me well so far, but now I would like to get a second opinion ". Doctors have an enormous advantage where information is concerned. They can make patients feel insecure and afraid even if, and precisely then, they are not aware of doing so. Specialist and social know-how is important. The resultant trust is the basis for successful treatment. Openness and an explanation of the methods that are possible, and also of the risks, are important so that the woman feels able to decide for herself what form of treatment she wishes to choose. Especially if the diagnosis allows for it, women should obtain as much information as possible. 

Gather information from friends and acquaintances. Who has had what experiences? With which doctor did things go well from the professional and interpersonal viewpoint? 

From the media we know that many women unnecessarily undergo surgery. With regard to Germany, this applies more to patients with private medical insurance than to those belonging to public medical insurance funds. The number of hysterectomies is high, as is that of laparotomies (operation involving a large abdominal incision). How does this come about? Advice can be obtained from women's health centers or from advisory services such as, in Germany, Pro Familia. One can also find information on the internet. 

For myomas, ovarian cysts or severe hemorrhages there are always two or three different methods of treatment. Surgery is one of them. Here, in turn, there are different methods. Which surgeon uses what method? What are the advantages and disadvantages of a method? Does he prefer open surgery where a large abdominal incision is made? Is he a specialist for endoscopy? Being able to perform laparoscopic surgery well calls for special skills on the part of the surgeon. How often has he performed laparoscopic surgery? 

It must not be forgotten that the recommendation for a particular treatment or method of surgery does not take account only of the patient's needs. This recommendation will also be based on the interest, preferences and skills of the doctor making the recommendation. 

The greater the number of questions of this type clarified before embarking on treatment, the greater is the likelihood of a successful outcome.