When it comes to fibroid symptoms like heavy bleeding, different doctors offer different treatments. Unfortunately, hysterectomy (the complete removal of a woman's uterus) is a top suggestion. Since 1995, fibroid doctors like Dr. Fox and Dr. Hardee offer embolization. This is a process that cuts off fibroids' blood flow, shrinking them without invasive surgery.
Now, we want to help spread the word about non-invasive treatments. That's because they can make a major impact on your long-term well-being! In fact, science now confirms that women have better long-term outcomes with embolization!
A 10-year Dutch study followed 156 women after their uterine fibroid treatments. All of the women had symptoms that could have been treated with hysterectomies. But 81 were treated with embolization and 75 had hysterectomies. Ten years later, the women reported their quality of life. And only 28 embolization patients still needed a hysterectomy! Plus, the 53 women who avoided hysterectomies were just as symptom-free as the 75 women who had hysterectomies right away. In short, the results prove that hysterectomies shouldn't 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.”
Uterine fibroid embolization (or uterine artery embolization)is minimally invasive. Interventional Radiologists, doctors trained to provide minimally invasive procedures, perform this procedure. Before treatment, you'll undergo testing. If you're a candidate, your entire procedure lasts less than one hour. Better yet, it's performed as outpatient therapy. You'll likely stay no longer than 23 hours after your procedure.
And what happens in the procedure? UFE begins with a tiny incision in your femoral artery. This gives allows us to pass a small tube into your femoral artery, so we can access the uterine artery. Using special X-ray equipment, we then guides the catheter to your fibroid. Next, your IR injects embolic material (small spheres) through the catheter.
This embolic material blocks vessels around the fibroid. Then, the tumor shrinks without the blood and oxygen it needs to grow. And the material stays in your vessels permanently, so the fibroid doesn't return.
Next, we move the catheter to the other side of your uterus, usually using the same incision. And, after we embolize both sides of the uterine artery, we gently remove your catheter and place finger pressure over the small incision in your thigh. After a few minutes, we'll likely close the incision.
After the procedure, you may experience some discomfort such as abdominal cramping or pain. You may need some medication. But our skilled nurses will help you with post-procedure care. We'll also schedule your post procedure follow up appointments.That way, you'll come in at the optimal time.
Many women with fibroids can clearly avoid hysterectomy. And embolization can still delay surgery and menopause, even for women who eventually require one. When it comes to your health, knowledge is power. Before undergoing a life-altering hysterectomy, or any invasive fibroid treatment, schedule a consultation with our office team. We are happy to discuss your eligibility for UFE.
Sources: Parent's Africa Magazine, CVIR Endovascular Journal
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