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UFE Gives Better Fibroid Outcomes, Study Proves

Posted on November 24, 2021

If you want a treatment with better fibroid outcomes, this read is for you! Today, we're introducing you to Shellie Canady, a woman who had a miserable 16-year fibroid journey, suffering until she finally discovered Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE.)

Her story, shared with Wish TV, begins back in 1995, when Canady's doctor found fibroids in her uterus. That year, she had a myomectomy to remove the growths. But they came back, and she had another surgery in 2002. At this point, the invasive procedures created so much scar tissue that she developed a bile obstruction. Now, she needed surgery to remove 18 inches of her intestines!

Finally, she decided to try UFE, to treat her fibroids without surgery. She was thrilled to avoid surgery while finding relief from her fibroid symptoms. And she proved what we're learning from ongoing research.

Because, according to a recent Mayo Clinic study, minimally invasive uterine fibroid treatments offer better results than surgical options. That's exciting news for women who want to avoid hysterectomy. And for those of us who seek to understand fibroid risks to deliver better fibroid outcomes.

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We still don't know why women develop fibroids. But understanding different risk factors can help us target fibroid treatments. Recently, at the 2021 Fibroid Summit, presenters talked about factors that increase fibroid risk.

Admitting there's not one trigger, several potential risk factors were discussed. First, presenters noted that vitamin D deficiency and obesity increase your fibroid risk. Also, changes in your microbiome and being extra responsive to estrogen were noted as fibroid risks. Finally, in-utero exposure to diethylstilbestrol (des) turns out to be a major risk for fibroids. (This is a type of synthetic estrogen hormone. Today, we know it's very dangerous. But between the 1940s and 1970s, many women were given this drug to prevent miscarriages and other pregnancy complications. So, if your mother took des while pregnant, your fibroid risk increases.)

Now, just because you're at risk for fibroids doesn't mean you'll develop these non-cancerous tumors. In fact, many women develop fibroids with no known risk factors. Still, whatever your fibroid risk, it's important to know you have several treatment options. And they don't have to involve surgery.

UFE Fibroid Outcomes

According to a study 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). 

Now, both treatments reduced women’s fibroid symptoms. But UFE offered better symptom reduction.

Of course, the study proved that both procedures were minimally invasive, Meaning they're both great alternatives to hysterectomy. (That procedure requires the complete removal of your 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 your uterus increases your risk of long term health complications. And these include weight gain and heart disease.

Putting Women FIRSTT

What’s important about this study is that it finally, alternatives to hysterectomies. In this way, it's easier to see which is minimally invasive treatment delivers the best fibroid outcomes. 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. Over the next four years, researchers compared the fibroid outcomes for both. (Seventy women had MRgFUS and 62 had UAE.) Of the MRgFUS women, 30 percent underwent a second fibroid procedure. In comparison, only 13 percent of the UAE patients needed a second procedure.

Finding Better Fibroid Outcomes in Houston

For interventional radiologists like Dr. Fox and Dr. Hardee, this study is great news. What it proves to us, and to our patients, is that alternative hysterectomy treatments are effective. Plus, it shows that some are more effective than others. In this way, the study shows the importance of considering all your fibroid treatment options. In that way, when you decide to deal with your fibroid diagnosis, you'll get great outcomes.

Ready to learn more about UAE? We're here to help. Call our office and request an immediate appointment. We'll help you find the treatment that's best for you!


Sources: Mayo Clinic, Contemporary ObGyn  

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