Like any other system in the human body, the reproductive system can be thrown off by a variety of medical issues, resulting in conception difficulties, or difficulties carrying a pregnancy to full term. When a simple solution isn't found, or there is a problem that is anatomical in nature, patients are often referred to a reproductive endocrinologist surgeon. These specialists assist men and women who have been found infertile due to anatomical issues, such as tubal disease or endometriosis, which can be corrected through surgery.
The Society for Reproductive Surgeons states that infertility due to pelvic factors in the female and surgically correctable factors in the male are present in 20-40 percent of couples. Reproductive endocrinologist surgeons are also experts in medical issues related to the endocrine system, which can cause infertility, hormonal and gland disorders, and disease.
What is a Reproductive Endocrinologist Surgeon?
A reproductive endocrinologist surgeon specializes in treating patients who are experiencing infertility due to a number of anatomical or endocrine-related disorders or diseases. Not only do they have the ability to treat patients using assisted reproductive technology, but they are specialized in the surgical aspect of reproductive medicine as well, and can perform a variety of surgical procedures when necessary to treat the causes of infertility.
Reproductive endocrinologist surgeons often see a broad variety of medical conditions resulting in infertility, from the most common of problems to the most rare. Among other skills, these professionals are primarily trained to:
While a reproductive endocrinologist surgeon may be able to perform a vast number of surgical and other fertility treatments, the medical community as a whole seems to be shifting into the "less is more" frame of mind. With fertility medicine, it is becoming increasingly more important to evaluate patients as a whole and choose the least invasive methods that will achieve the desired results.
Men and women who are interested in becoming a reproductive endocrinologist surgeon should have plenty of drive and determination, as the educational path is not a short one by any means. These physicians must stick it out through approximately 12 years of post-secondary education, which includes graduating medical school and obtaining a residency and fellowship.
Step by Step Educational Path of a Reproductive Endocrinologist Surgeon
All physicians operating in the US are required to obtain medical licenses; this is done by passing the United States Medical Licensing Examination, an examination divided into three sections, completed at different times in the student's educational career.
The First Section of the examination can be taken after or during the second year of medical school. At this point in the examination, only their basic medical knowledge and medical ethics knowledge will be tested through a multiple choice format.
The Second Section of the exam is completed during or after the fourth year of medical school, and will be much more in-depth, as far as testing the student's medical knowledge. It will include staged scenarios that test the student's knowledge of clinical procedures and sciences, as well as multiple-choice questions.
The Third Section of the exam is given during or after the first year of medical residency, and also includes scenarios and multiple-choice questions. At this point, the student is expected to have a firm grasp on clinical knowledge, evaluation, diagnosis, and best treatment options.
The number of reproductive endocrinologists available to treat patients in the US is alarmingly low, especially those with surgical knowledge and certification. In fact, US News and World Report have published information showing that some states have as few as one specialist. For students entering the field, this translates to an excellent job outlook and job stability virtually anywhere they decide to practice.
These professionals may work in hospitals or healthcare settings alongside other medical professionals, but most will work in a private clinic where they are able to see patients one-on-one. At times, they may need to collaborate with other doctors, especially if a reproductive issue is the result of a systemic problem or health condition. In their own private offices, the REI surgeon may collaborate with case managers and nurses who also take care of patients. They will see a variety of health conditions and disorders, and will likely partner with a local hospital to handle surgical cases.
Employers looking to hire reproductive endocrinologist surgeons value the following qualities:
To increase the chances of getting hired and/or having a successful practice, REI surgeons should consider the following:
The American Medical Group Association (AMGA)'s Compensation Survey states that reproductive endocrinologists (including surgeons) earn a median salary of $317,943, annually. Because of the limited number of REI surgeons, the demand for these professionals is much higher than that of many other careers. The combination of these aspects makes it very attractive for those considering entering this field.
Starting a Private Practice
The traditional route that REI surgeons and specialist take is starting their own private practice. Often times, a group practice is more appealing to these professionals because the financial risk is not as great. However, there are other pros and cons to consider before determining whether a private practice is the right path to take.
Those who are in private practice are able to call the shots in all areas of the practice, including revenue and patient care. They can often create a more flexible schedule, giving them the opportunity to fully explore and enjoy other facets of their lives. They will also have full control over the size of their staff, and the amount of time they are able to spend with each patient. This can give them the unique opportunity to provide excellent, thorough, one-on-one care.
Those employed with a hospital or in a group often have less control over decisions like these. Hospitals often determine which hours a doctor is able to see patients, as well as staff size and duty allocation. The advantage of being employed with a hospital or being part of a medical group, includes, shared financial obligation, which is often important to a physician who likely has massive education-related debt after completing such an extensive learning period.
Those who determine that private practice is a good solution for them may consider taking business and administration courses that will give them the knowledge and skills they need to establish cost-cutting measures, allocate funds properly, and manage a business successfully.
Reproductive surgery is an extremely rewarding medicinal field that is currently in serious need of highly-trained professionals. With excellent compensation, job stability and security, this field is a fantastic choice for those considering reproductive medicine as a career.