Fibroids can be as small as a grape or as big as a full-term pregnancy. They cause symptoms such as heavy periods, bloating, back ache and urinary incontinence, and are linked to infertility and miscarriage. Although no one knows what causes fibroids, the female hormones oestrogen and progesterone fuel their growth.
Millions of women in Britain suffer from fibroids - benign growths in and around the uterus. So instead, fibroids are now treated either with myomectomy — surgical removal of the fibroids — or with uterine artery embolisation, which is a procedure to destroy the growths by blocking their blood supply with tiny glue particles fed in via a catheter.
Whichever treatment you opt for, selecting a consultant who is expert in the treatment of fibroids is absolutely paramount. If a patient chooses surgery, gynaecologists can access fibroids by one of three ways — through the cervix, by keyhole surgery or by open surgery. Embolisation, which is performed by an interventional radiologist, spares patients from surgery. But one of the risks is that part of the blood supply to the ovaries can be damaged by the procedure — compromising the chances of a successful pregnancy.
With the stakes high, how can you find a top-notch consultant? We canvassed 40 leading gynaecologists and interventional radiologists in the country, asking them: Those earning the most votes from their own peers made it into our top ranking. Remember that this is a guide, not a scientific study — there are many more superb and highly-skilled consultants all over the country.
Here are our top ten fibroid experts, plus some highly recommended runners-up. All but one works in the NHS, although most do some private work, too.
As a fertility expert, he takes exquisite care with nearby structures such as the fallopian tubes, so his patients will have the best possible chance of a successful pregnancy. Patients love her — she cares about them, takes their views on board and will do all she can to ensure they get the best possible treatment.
Uteruses after his treatment are beautifully neat. His background is in fertility problems and he will remove even large fibroids superbly by keyhole surgery, so his patients will have an excellent chance of pregnancy. He also has a very good bedside manner.
An acknowledged expert who has done more fibroid embolisation than anyone else, he has achieved outstanding results. Extremely personable, and patients have complete and well-deserved faith in what he does. Highly-skilled with the manual dexterity and hand-eye coordination needed. This is vital because you want to starve the fibroid of its blood supply, but not damage the supply to nearby structures. He also collects and appraises his own results and presents these to peers at meetings, and is a keen researcher.
Fibroid patients would be in very safe hands with him. She would put all the options to each patient fairly and then help them to decide. If they then decide on embolisation, he will look after them very well. He ticks all of these boxes, taking excellent care of his patients.
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