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Category: UFE

Is UFE Covered by Insurance?

Many women diagnosed with uterine tumors are worried about covering the cost of fibroid treatments. In our Houston fibroids practice, we offer a non-invasive, alternative  treatment option known as Uterine Fibroid Embolization. Its benefits include: minimal downtime, no hospital stays and the ability to avoid surgery and hysterectomy! 

Fortunately for patients seeking relief from fibroid pain, UFE is an established and accepted fibroid treatment option. As such, all major insurers (and most plans in general) will cover the cost of treatment (check out the helpful video below for more information from one of our fibroid experts, Dr. Hardee.) In fact, because we perform all UFE procedures in our Houston fibroids office, on an outpatient basis, many patients are faced with much lower out-of-pocket expenses in comparison to other treatment options. While surgeries like myomectomies and hysterectomies require costly hospital stays, anesthesia and other additional expenses, many women who decide to proceed with UFE are billed for as little as an office visit co-pay. Additionally, by September, many women will have met their insurance plan deductibles, further lowering the expected cost of treating fibroids.

Of course, as an office, we want patients to focus on getting better, not on worrying about paying for their treatment. For that reason, our experienced team is on hand and available to help with handling any insurance issues that come up for patients being evaluated and treated for uterine fibroids. Even before your treatments begin, someone from our office will contact your insurance company directly to address any coverage issues before treatment.

 Insurance and our Houston Fibroid Practice

Uterine-Fibroid-Treatment-for-African-American-Women in HoustonThankfully, our practice also works with a wide variety of insurers: from Medicare to HMO plans, we have one of the most comprehensive insurance offerings in the greater Houston area. This means that you will more-than-likely be covered when it comes to paying for UFE.

With over 30 years of combined experience treating women suffering from fibroids, Dr. Fox and Dr. Hardee know how difficult dealing with fibroids can be. That’s why our doctors offer a less invasive treatment option and a variety of ways to pay for the treatment itself. Don’t let concerns about cost prevent you from treating your fibroid pain. Contact our office at (713) 575-3686 to begin your insurance-covered journey to better health! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#WCW: FKA Twigs Fibroids Journey

On this week’s Woman Crush Wednesday, we are celebrating singer (and former Robert Pattinson fiance) FKA Twigs for opening up about her fibroids struggle. In May, the star gave a very revealing Instagram update, saying she had undergone laproscopic surgery to remove six fibroids from her uterus. 

She went on to share: “the tumours were pretty huge, the size of 2 cooking apples 🍎 🍎, 3 kiwis 🥝 🥝 🥝 and a couple of 🍓🍓.
a fruit bowl of pain everyday. the nurse said that the weight and size was like being 6 months pregnant.”

Pain and Loneliness
Sadly, for FKA Twigs, the journey to healing was extremely tough. “I tried to be brave but it was excruciating at times and to be honest I started to doubt if my body would ever feel the same again,” she said. “I had surgery in December and I was so scared, despite lots of love from friends and family I felt really alone and my confidence as a woman was knocked.”

The good news is that, six months later, the singer was feeling better and ready to share a message with other struggling women: “I know that a lot of women suffer from fibroid tumours and I just wanted to say after my experience that you are amazing warriors and that you are not alone. you can get through this,” she said, concluding, “and with this I let go of the pain… love always twigs.”

A Better Path
We are so thankful that laproscopic surgery helped FKA Twigs feel like herself again; certainly, many women have been helped by similar procedure. Still, any kind of surgery is traumatic to your body, so why go under the knife if there’s another option? 

Thankfully, there is! Known as Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE), it’s a minimally invasive fibroid treatment delivered through a catheter inserted into your arm. Women can typically avoid hospital stays with this outpatient procedure and most feel well enough to stand up and walk immediately afterwards. 

So to all of Ms. Twigs’ fellow fibroid warriors, we say: know your options. Come into our Houston Fibroids office and find out if UFE is right for you! 

 

Warning: Fibroid Meds Linked to Liver Damage

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has advised that women taking Esmya, a fibroid medication, may experience liver injury from the drug. In order to prevent this complication, the EMA has implemented a series of precautions for doctors to review before prescribing Esmya as a fibroid treatment. 

When working properly, Esmya is supposed to reduce the bleeding and anemia associated with uterine fibroids. Unfortunately, because some women taking Esmya have suffered liver injuries, the EMA now recommends that all patients should have liver screenings before and after taking the drug. Women with a history of liver problems should never take Esmya, and the drug should really be seen as an option of last resort. Only women without other treatment options should take this drug, according to the EMA. 

Sadly, many women are not aware of UFE, a minimally invasive fibroid treatment with many fewer potential complications. Women who are eligible for this non-invasive treatment option can expect an outpatient procedure that lasts for about about one hour; in fact, because the procedure is conducted through an artery in the arm, most UFE patients are able to stand up and walk around right after receiving treatment. Best of all, treatment is delivered directly to the uterine growths, offering a permanent fibroid solution that leaves other body parts completely unaffected. 

If you have been prescribed medications to help with the side effects of uterine fibroids, it’s crucial that you learn about all of your potential treatment options. Contact our Houston Fibroids practice to see if UFE can help you avoid the potential complications of fibroid medications. 

Let’s Get #FibroidFix Trending!

There’s a scary new study about fibroids: according to the Society of Interventional Radiologists, (SIR) most women will develop fibroids by the time they are 50, but about 57% of women don’t know they are at risk! Worse, 44% of women with fibroids are not told about all of their treatment options, and a shocking 11% of women think hysterectomies are the only way to treat fibroids! 

Because so many women are uninformed about fibroids, SIR has launched the #FibroidFix project. The goal is to help women learn about UFE, a non-invasive treatment option for uterine fibroids. Unlike many other treatment options, UFE is not a surgery. Treatment is delivered through an artery in your left wrist. Using specialized X-Ray equipment, your doctor injects small spheres through a catheter and into the blood flow that supplys your growing fibroids. The spheres, also known as embolic material, are designed to block the vessels around a fibroid, cutting off its oxygen and blood supply so that it starts to shrink. The embolic material remains permanently in place, so that the fibroid can’t start to grow again. news & events

Unlike a hysterectomy or other fibroid treatments, UFE is minimally invasive. The procedure usually lasts about one hour, and most patients can stand and walk immediately afterwards. Though usually performed in a hospital, UFE is typically an outpatient procedure. 

Despite all these obvious benefits, many gynecologists aren’t telling women that UFE is an option when it comes to discussing fibroid treatments. In fact, 77% of women who know about UFE didn’t first learn about it from their gynocologists!

As physicians trained to perform UFE, Dr. Hardee and Dr. Fox think this lack of information is a major problem. In our practice, we think that women deserve to know all their options…and they also have the right to protect their fertility and avoid hysterectomies whenever possible! If you agree that fibroid patients deserve better information, join us in taking a stand! Spread the word about UFE and let’s get #FibroidFix trending on Facebook, Twitter and anywhere else you share the latest happenings! 

#WCW: Gabrielle Union, Fertility Warrior!

Welcome back to Woman Crush Wednesday! This week we’re celebrating Gabrielle Union, who’s opening up about adenomyosis, a condition that threatens the fertility of many women around the world.  

Gabrielle’s journey began when she and husband Dwayne Wade (of the NBA’s Miami Heat) decided to start a family. Unable to conceive on their own, Gabrielle says she turned to many unsuccessful rounds of IVF to try and become pregnant. Instead of getting support from her doctors, however, the star says she was basically blamed for her own infertility: “Everyone had just sort of chalked it up to ‘You’re a career woman, you’ve prioritized your career, you waited too long and now you’re just too old to have a kid,'” she said. “And that’s on you for wanting a career.”

Fortunately, Gabrielle did not stop looking for answers and, soon enough, she and her doctors discovered the truth: she had adenomyosis, a type of endometriosis that can cause infertility. 

According to Gabrielle, who now wants to raise infertility awareness among women of all ages, she’s had the condition since she was in her 20s. Adenomyosis occurs when uterine lining tissue is found in the muscle layers surrounding the uterus. It is sometimes hard to diagnose because the misplaced tissue acts like other uterine tissue, shedding itself at the end of a woman’s menstrual cycle. Many women have no symptoms, though some experience cramping, pelvic pain and unusual spotting. 

Any woman who has had uterine surgery, including fibroid removals and/or a cesarean section, is at risk for developing adenomyosis; women between the ages of 40 and 50 make up 80 percent of diagnosed cases, so age also appears to be a risk factor. 

Complications like Gabrielle Union’s are just one reason our doctors encourage early, non-invasive treatment options for uterine fibroids. After all, as Ms. Union is now telling fans as she relates her story of struggle, “Fertility is not an older women issue, it is an issue period.”

TV Star Faces Fibroid Surgery after Delayed Intervention

An Indian TV host is sharing her story after delaying fibroid treatments forced her to have invasive surgery. According to Fatma Mohammed, two years ago, troubling symptoms sent her to the doctor, where she was diagnosed with uterine fibroids. At the time, she says, only five fibroids were detected. Myths about uterine fibroids

Unfortunately, Mohammed did not seek immediate treatment. By the time she was ready for help, the first five fibroids had grown bigger. Additionally, 21 new fibroids had developed. At that point, Mohammed’s physicians opted to surgically remove the fibroids. Following her recovery from major surgery, Mohammed decided to publicize her outcome so that other women could avoid similar situations. “I was informed that if only I had sought treatment when the five were first detected then I would not have gone under the knife,” she says. “Laparoscopy (a surgical procedure in which a fiber-optic instrument is inserted through the abdominal wall) would have removed them.”

We are so grateful that Fatma is telling her story, but we’re also terribly sad. It’s true that early treatment is crucial for fibroids, but it’s also true that laparoscopic surgery is still surgery.

In our Houston Fibroids practice, we offer women a non-surgical, out-patient treatment option known as Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE). It’s delivered through an artery in the left wrist, so patients can sit up and walk out of the office right after  the procedure! While not every patient is a candidate, many can benefit from UFE. You don’t have to have radical procedures like surgical fibroid removal or a hysterectomy.

If you have been diagnosed with fibroids and are currently considering treatment options,  schedule a consultation with our doctors. Our team of experts can help you determine how UFE can help you start feeling like yourself again.

Women’s Health Month Revelation: You Don’t Need a Hysterectomy

When it comes to fibroid symptoms like heavy bleeding, different doctors offer different treatments. Unfortunately, but many opt for surgeries like hysterectomy (the complete removal of a woman’s uterus.) Since 1995, however, a different option has been available: like Dr. Fox and Dr. Hardee at Houston Fibroids, doctors can now treat fibroids with embolization, a process that cuts off blood flow to the fibroids, causing them to shrink without invasive surgery.  

And since May marks Women’s Health Month, we want to help spread the word about non-invasive treatments that can make a major impact on a woman’s long-term wellbeing! 

While some question non-surgical fibroid treatments, science now confirms that women have better long-term outcomes with embolization! 

Concrete Proof

Known as the EMMY study, one Dutch trial followeded 156 women for 10 years after they were treated for uterine fibroids. All of the women had symptoms that made them eligible for hysterectomies. Of these women, 81 were treated with embolization and 75 had hysterectomies. Ten years after their procedures, researchers questioned the women on their quality of life and came up with very interesting findings: of the women who had embolization, only 28 needed a hysterectomy. The remaining 53 women who avoided hysterectomies reported similar health satisfaction to those 75 women who were given immediate hysterectomies. In short, the results prove that hysterectomies typically don’y need to be the first plan of attack in a fibroid treatment plan. As study leader Jim Reekers says, “Uterine artery embolization is a well-documented and good alternative to hysterectomy for symptomatic uterine fibroids, on which all eligible patients should be counseled.” 

What’s Involved in UAE and UFE?

Uterine fibroid embolization, also known as uterine artery embolization is a minimally invasive procedure that is performed by an Interventional Radiologist (IR), a medical doctor with extensive experience in minimally invasive procedures. Prior to the procedure, some tests may have to be done. The entire fibroid treatment typically lasts less than one hour, and is performed as an outpatient therapy. Patients usually have to stay up to 23 hours after the procedure is complete.

The uterine fibroid embolization procedure begins with a tiny incision in the femoral artery. This incision provides the IR with access to the femoral artery in the upper thigh. Using specialized X-ray equipment, the IR passes a catheter (small tube) into the femoral artery, to the uterine artery, and guides it near the location of the fibroid tumor. When the IR has reached the location of the fibroids, embolic material (small spheres) are injected through the catheter and into the blood flow leading to the uterine fibroid tumors.

The embolic material is designed to block the vessels around the fibroid, depriving it of the blood and oxygen it needs to grow. The blood and oxygen deprivation results in fibroids shrinking. The embolic material remains permanently in the blood vessels at the fibroid site.

The catheter is then moved to the other side of the uterus, usually using the same incision in the thigh. Once the IR has completed embolization of the uterine artery on both sides, the catheter is gently removed and the IR places finger pressure over the small incision in your thigh. After holding the puncture site for a few minutes to help stop any bleeding, the IR may close the incision using a vascular closure device.

After the procedure, you may experience some discomfort such as abdominal cramping or pain. You and your doctor will determine what medications may be needed to keep you comfortable. The post-procedure care that you receive will be administered by skilled nurses and your IR. Post procedure appointments will need to be scheduled, and since these appointments vary, be sure to ask your IR when they need to be scheduled.

Find Out More

As this study shows, hysterectomy is often avoidable when it comes to treating fibroids. Even in women who eventually will require a hysterectomy, embolization treatments can delay the need for major surgery and, of course, the onset of menopause that comes with a hysterectomy. When it comes to your health, knowledge is power. Before undergoing a life-altering hysterectomy procedure, or any kind of invasive fibroid treatment plan, schedule a consultation with our office team to discuss your eligibility for UFE, our highly effective, minimally invasive fibroid treatment option.