Finding a specialist

It has been said that the times of one doctor dealing with all ‘women’s problems’ are well and truly over. This is totally correct and modern medicine is about subspecialities. By asking questions, researching and reviewing the evidence you can find the right subspecialist to help you return to healthy and happy living. When you’re in pain or wanting a problem managed it’s easy to choose the first surgeon on the list or the one with the earliest available appointments. However, to get the best results, it’s important to find the right person with the experience and abilities to treat your specific condition. As medicine and surgery have developed and evolved, there’s been an increased need for subspecialisation.

In healthcare, as in life, no individual can excel at everything.  We all have specific skills, interests, and talents.  The modern era is one of super-specialisation, with surgeons focusing on particular areas of the body and specific techniques. If you have ever tried to learn a skill like sport, baking or speaking a language you’ll probably realise that the only way to get truly proficient is to focus, study, practice, practice and practice again.

That is also true in medicine. Subspecialties are a good thing for the patient and the practitioner. You can be reassured that your doctor is not only interested in your condition but has also spent years studying, training and gaining experience in treating it. The balance of knowing what exactly to treat, when and how, be it with lifestyle modification, medication or surgery is complex for every gynaecological problem.  This is due to pelvic anatomy, physiology and pathology being incredibly complicated and needing to be balanced with how you would like your health improved as you are the most important person in the room.

Whilst a general gynaecologist can deal with many of the everyday issues, for many conditions it is better to consult with an expert. To get the optimum treatment for cancer, a gynae-oncologist will be the best person to treat you; when it comes to endometriosis treatment, an endometriosis specialist should provide the surgery you need. For highly technical procedures like Urogynaecology and pelvic floor surgery, being a Subspecialist Urogynaecologist is the only way to become truly adept and accomplished. As a minimal access colleague, Mr Khazali says, "The truth is, there simply isn’t the time in one person’s career to become proficient in all fields. Focusing on a specific subspeciality, allows a surgeon to develop their technique, hone their surgical skills and keep up to date with all the very latest research."

As well as learning from our own experiences, as surgeons we can gain knowledge from that of others. This is by reading case-reports, journals and talking to other experts within the speciality. In Britain we have societies that help to facilitate that process, there’s the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, which all UK consultant gynaecologists should be members of.  However, for those who are interested in Urogynaecology, there is also the British Society of Urogynaecology.  I am the elected Chair of the British Society of Urogynaecology Information Committee. Here, not only do I speak with many other Urogynaecologists I also preside over the information and practice recommendation we publish as guidance to all Urogynaecologists.

I hope you find the right specialist for the problems which are causing you bother and get onto the path to regaining the real you soon.

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