According to a new Mayo Clinic study, minimally invasive uterine fibroid treatments offer better results than surgical options. According to findings published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, women who treated fibroids with UAE (uterine artery embolization) were less likely to need a second procedure than women who were treated with MRI focused ultrasound surgery (MRgFUS).
The study found that, both treatments reduced women’s fibroid treatments, but UFE offered a greater symptom reduction.
Of course, the study proved that both procedures were minimally invasive, making them viable alternatives to hysterectomy (the complete removal of a woman’s uterus.) This is great news for all women, since fibroids lead to about 200,000 hysterectomies each year in this country. While hysterectomies can “cure” women of fibroids, removing a woman’s uterus has been shown to increase a woman’s risk of long term health complications, including weight gain and heart disease.
What’s important about this new study is that, finally, alternatives to hysterectomies are being compared to one another to see which is the best option. And in this study, called FIRSTT Fibroid Interventions: Reducing Symptoms Today and Tomorrow, Mayo Clinic, Duke University and University of California, San Francisco, researchers compared MRgFUS to UAE to determine effectiveness.
During the study, 83 participants were randomly assigned to receive one of the two treatments: UAE or MRgFUS. Over the next four years, researchers compared the outcomes of the two procedures in 70 women who underwent MRgFUS and 62 who were treated by UAE. Of the MRgFUS women, 30 percent underwent a second fibroid procedure; only 13 percent of the women who were treated with UAE needed a second procedure.
For interventional radiologists like Dr. Fox and Dr. Hardee, this study is heartening. What it proves to us, and to our patients, is the fact that not only are alternative hysterectomy treatments effective, some are more effective than others. It emphasizes the importance of considering all your options before deciding how to deal with your fibroid diagnosis.