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3 Reasons to Choose UFE Over Fibroid Surgery

Posted on September 05, 2023

When you have uterine fibroids, it's important to explore all your treatment options, not just fibroid surgery. Many women with fibroids think they need a hysterectomy (surgical removal of the uterus.) But many could find relief with myomectomy (surgical removal of the tumor) or uterine fibroid embolization (a minimally invasive treatment protocol that blocks blood flow to your fibroids, causing them to shrink.)

While hysterectomy is a drastic surgery, some women may be confused about which of the two less invasive treatment options would be their best choice. Now, new research is giving women two important reasons to choose UFE.

Types of Fibroid Surgery

Before we talk about UFE vs myomectomy, let's talk about the different types of fibroid removal surgery. If you choose to have your tumors surgically removed, you'll have two choices: open abdominal surgery or laparoscopic surgery. With the first option, your surgeon opens up your lower abdomen with an incision large enough to remove your fibroids. This is obviously an invasive procedure that will come with an extended recovery period.

On the other hand, with laparoscopic fibroid surgery, your fibroids are removed through a series of several smaller incisions. The procedure is less invasive, with a faster recovery period. But you'll still need to undergo sedation before the procedure.

Still, both of these procedures do help relieve fibroid symptoms. In a recent study in the Journal of Minimally Invasive Gynecology, researchers followed 143 women with fibroids for three years. 52 had open-abdominal procedures,  28 went with the laparoscopic procedure. Typically, the women choosing open-abdominal surgery started off with larger and more numerous fibroid clusters. Now, what the researchers discovered was very interesting: despite the differences in recovery periods, women in both groups reported similar improvements in quality of life and symptom relief. Yet, they still had to struggle with the challenges of surgery. And that is why many women still look for alternative fibroid treatments.

Sadly, they often have to conduct this research on their own. In fact, despite yielding similar outcomes, this study reveals that healthcare providers recommended myomectomy over UFE for fibroid treatment at a rate of 42 to 1%. As fibroid specialists in Houston, TX that's an information gap that we need to see closed. So, to help you get a better understanding of all your fibroid treatment options, here's a rundown on why you might choose Uterine Fibroid Embolization over myomectomy or other forms of fibroid surgery.

3 Main Advantages of Uterine Fibroid Embolization

If you're looking for an alternative to fibroid surgery, here is some helpful research you'll want to review.

According to research conducted by Dr. Jemianne Bautista-Jia, UFE may be more effective than myomectomy at relieving fibroid symptoms. Specifically, the study discovered three advantages to this method, as compared to surgical options.

  1. With UFE, women were less likely to need secondary procedures than women who had myomectomy. That means if you choose UFE, you've got higher odds of finding lasting relief.
  2. Women were less likely to need a blood transfusion after UFE than following surgery. Not only will this help you return faster to your daily activities, but it will also protect you from potential issues that may arise from this somewhat-risky blood transfer.
  3. Women whose fibroids caused heavy menstrual bleeding experienced better relief with UFE than with myomectomy. And there's nothing we don't love about that news: say goodbye to back-up menstrual protection. And hello to the gorgeous white dress you've been eyeing for months!

While the study did note that more women became pregnant after myomectomy than after UFE, all other findings pointed women towards greater relief with UFE. Dr. Bautista-Jia, in presenting the findings wanted women with fibroids to take away his message: if heavy bleeding is your main fibroid symptom, UFE is the way to go. She also suggested that all women with symptomatic fibroids should explore UFE as a great treatment option.

Want more info on UFE? Reach out and schedule a consultation with our Houston area fibroid specialists.

Sources: evtoday.com, Society of Interventional Radiology, The Journal of Minimally Invasive Gynecology

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