As fibroid specialists, we’ve been warning women about power morcellator treatment for some time. Two years ago, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning for women with fibroids. It revealed that this common fibroid treatment can spread cancer cells in women’s bodies! And now, the FDA has updated their warnings to reflect the serious risk of the power morcellator.
Fibroid Treatment Options
Here at our Houston practice, we offer minimally invasive fibroid treatment. But many women with fibroids choose surgical treatment. Then, during that surgery, the fibroid removal involves a power morcellator. This is a machine that shreds the benign tumors inside the uterus. Some doctors like this treatment option because it is relatively non-invasive, compared to traditional surgery. Plus, it leaves women with smaller scars, and results in almost no down time. Unfortunately, it has now become clear that this supposedly non-invasive treatment option could actually act as a silent killer!
How a Power Morecellator Spreads Danger
While fibroids are non-cancerous tumors, the FDA reports that 1 in 350 women who are undergoing fibroid removal treatments are also suffering from undetected cancer! For those women who have cancer cells at the time of their treatment, the power morcellator actually makes their cases worse in two ways. First, it increases the risk of leaving behind the shredded, cancerous cells. Second: the morcellator spreads those cells around to a larger area of the uterus. Then, in some cases, those cells spread cancer to other parts of the body!
Given the risk, the FDA originally advised caution when considering this approach to fibroid treatment. Now, they updated their guidance, suggesting they should be packaged with boxed-warnings that reflect the risk of spreading cancer. This combines with previous warnings to only use the power morecellator with containment systems. And to limit its use to women who are under 50 and haven’t entered menopause.
As any woman with fibroids can appreciate, minimally invasive treatments are ideal, but not at the expense of overall health! In our Houston Fibroids practice, Drs. Fox and Hardee offer a different kind of procedure: a truly non invasive treatment that doesn’t put other areas of your health at risk!
A Better Choice Than the Power Morcellator
Known as Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE), treatment is administered through an artery in your left wrist. Using special X-ray equipment, a catheter (small tube) goes through the femoral artery and into the uterine artery, near your fibroid tumors. When it reaches the right spot, the doctors simply inject small spheres through the catheter and into the blood flow leading to the uterine fibroid tumors. Next, those small spheres (embolic materials) block the vessels around the fibroid, cutting off the blood and oxygen it needs to grow. This blockage makes fibroids shrink, and the spheres stay in your blood vessels permanently so the fibroids don’t grow back!
Not only is this procedure fairly quick and easy (you can sit up and walk almost immediately after treatment) it is also a much safer option. UFE patients avoid surgery, general anesthesia, and. most importantly, the risk of spreading dangerous cancer cells throughout their bodies!
While UFE is not for everyone, it is a great choice for those who qualify. If you are interested in learning more, please schedule an in office consultation with our team!
Sources: U.S. Food & Drug Administration