Infertility/Fertility/CT scan radiation effect on eggs
I have just learned I have two complex masses, one on each ovary (possibly teratomas). Ultrasound shows they are 7 cm and 5 cm. Radiology report suggests follow up with a CT scan. My doctor wants to do surgery to remove them, and there is a possibility he will not be able to save the ovaries. I'm 26 years old with no children but very badly want to have them one day. I am considering harvesting eggs, but haven't gotten to fertility doctor yet. I've read that CT scans can affect egg quality and an MRI might be a better choice. Other articles say CT radiation is insignificant. Would I be better to push for an MRI to avoid any possible radiation damage to my eggs or ovaries, or is the radiation not even a concern? I am trying to make the best choice for possible egg harvesting. I live in Florida. Thank you in advance for your insight and help.
Hello Mary from the U.S. (Florida),
The radiation emitted by a CT scan will NOT affect the eggs within your ovary. Eggs are affected by intense and prolonged radiation as occurs with radiation therapy for cancer. You needn't worry. The purpose of the CT scan is to make sure that there are no additional tumors within the abdomen nor swollen lymph nodes. These findings would be indicative of a malignancy.
I might also suggest that if your doctor told you that you might lose your ovaries, I would get a second opinion and maybe seek out a better doctor. In general, teratomas are NOT malignant tumors and simply need to be removed from the ovaries. The entire ovary does not need to removed. A skilled gynecologic surgeon will preserve the ovaries at all cost, unless they are highly suspicious for a malignancy, which is unlikely at your age.
Definitely, harvesting eggs in advance by IVF is an option for you, but if I were your doctor, I might not emphasize its necessity, despite the fact that I also do IVF and could do the egg harvesting and preservation. Since I began my training in Gynecology, I don't think I have EVER had to take an ovary because of a Teratoma (also called a Dermoid tumor). Remember, although we all have M.D. or D.O. degrees, and all undergo training in our specialty, not all doctors are alike. Not all are good diagnosticians and not all are good or skilled surgeons. Try to get the BEST surgeon that you can. Even in my area, there are doctors that I would not send my patients to.
Dr. Edward J. Ramirez, M.D., FACOG
Executive Medical Director
The Fertility and Gynecology Center
Monterey Bay IVF Program
Monterey, California, U.S.A.
for additional information check out my blog at http://womenshealthandfertility.blogspot.com
check me out on twitter with me at @montereybayivf and facebook @montereybayivf. Skype and internet comprehensive consultations now available via my website for those who want a more extensive evaluation that this site can accommodate. I also now provide an Email Concierge Advisory Service with a 1 year subscription for patients that want easy access to me to answer questions along their journey (women's health, infertility, pregnancy). Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in continuous access to me.