More than 200,000 cases of uterine fibroids are diagnosed each year in the US. Although the causes are not yet fully understood, the effects can be very painful and affect fertility. Although open surgery such as hysterectomy or myomectomy requiring several days in the hospital and weeks of recovery was once the only treatment option available for fibroids, now women have a choice. The doctors at Vascular Health Institute in Dallas, TX can decide which treatment is right for you.
Uterine Fibroids are benign (non-cancerous) growths of tissue in the uterus that typically occur during a woman’s childbearing years. They can be very tiny to very large, individual or multiple, and can often exist with no symptoms. However, when symptoms do occur, they can be unpleasant and uncomfortable, and might affect fertility.
While the exact cause is not known, it is generally believed that uterine fibroids could be caused by genetic changes, hormones, and other growth factors and that there are certain risk factors that increase the chances of a woman’s developing uterine fibroids.
Symptoms can vary from woman to woman, but may include:
Your doctor may order imaging to confirm that you have uterine fibroids, but he may also discover them during a routine pelvic exam. To accurately assess the size, location, and treatment options, advanced imaging like an MRI is sometimes ordered by your physician.
Treatments are customized to every patient and may include monitoring, imaging, and medication. As the disease advances, options to remove the fibroids are often suggested. Although open surgery was once the only treatment available, women can now choose to be treated in the office setting on an outpatient basis, go home the same day, and return to normal activity in a few days. This procedure is called an Embolization. During this procedure, the physician accesses the uterine artery through a small catheter inserted in the patient’s wrist or groin. He then uses small coils to block the blood flow to the fibroid(s). When they are deprived of blood, the fibroids shrink and are eventually reabsorbed by the body. The procedure is performed using image guidance, in a couple of hours. Recovery takes only a couple of hours in the office. Patients go home the same day and are back to their normal routine in a few days. This treatment option is preferable to many patients as it is minimally invasive, so there is no unsightly scar and no long recovery from an abdominal incision, it allows the women to keep her uterus, reduces discomfort and downtime, and is performed in a safe, comfortable environment by a team who is dedicated to her care. If you have been diagnosed with fibroids, you should learn about all the treatment options available to you. Call us today or click to schedule an appointment to discuss this procedure and your care.