Uterine Fibroids are common, noncancerous growths that develop in the muscular wall of the uterus. Between 20 and 40 percent of women 35 and older, and 50 percent of African American women, have uterine fibroids of a significant size. They can range in size from very tiny – as small as a quarter of an inch – to larger than a grapefruit. Even the smallest ones can cause intense pain and heavy bleeding. Often, patients are told a hysterectomy is the only effective treatment for debilitating symptoms – about one-third of the 600,000 hysterectomies performed annually in the United States are due to fibroids.
Patients have another option. Holy Name Medical Center's Interventional Radiologists can perform a minimally invasive procedure – a uterine fibroid embolization – to treat uterine fibroids without a hysterectomy and open surgery. They guide a small catheter through an incision in the groin to the uterine arteries that supply blood to the uterine tumor. Tiny particles – about the size of a grain of sand – are injected into the arteries that supply blood to the fibroids, which causes them to shrink and die.
About 85 to 90 percent of women who undergo a uterine fibroid embolization experience significant or total relief from symptoms. Recurrence of treated fibroids is extremely rare. The American Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend a uterine fibroid embolization for women who do not want a hysterectomy.
- Pelvic or back pain
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Prolonged menstrual periods
- Sensation of fullness or pressure
- No hysterectomy
- Little or no hospital stay
- Minimal post-procedure discomfort
- Faster recovery
- Fewer complications