Medical Advancements in Fibroid Treatment

Medical Advancements in Fibroid Treatment 645d52966a6b4.png

Medical Advancements in Fibroid Treatment

Fortunately for the estimated 26 million women in the United States that have uterine fibroids, huge medical advancements have been made that allow for a variety of treatment methods. These range from medication to hormone therapy, as well as both invasive and non-invasive surgical procedures to remove the fibroids completely.

Here at MidAtlantic Vascular and Interventional, we specialize in the removable of uterine fibroids, through an advanced medical procedure called Uterine Fibroid Embolization.

Unlike medications, which primarily treat the symptoms of fibroids, Uterine Fibroid Embolization, focuses on treating the condition by removing the fibroids themselves.

So what is Uterine Fibroid Embolization? And how does it work?

Good question and we are happy to answer that. But first, let’s take a quick look at what a uterine fibroid is.

Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths of the uterus that often appear during a woman’s childbearing years. These growths are made of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue. Sometimes fibroids are solitary, but it is also common to have multiple ones.

Uterine fibroids range in size. Some are so tiny that they are undetectable by the human eye alone. While others can be large enough to distort and enlarge the uterus.

How can I tell if I have a fibroid?

When a woman has a fibroid, it is most often discovered during a routine pelvic exam or imaging procedures performed for other reasons. If the fibroid or fibroids do not cause any symptoms, pain, or discomfort, and are not affecting fertility- then they usually do not require treatment. However, when symptoms are present, these can be managed with medications, surgery, and by using minimally invasive techniques.

Some of the symptoms associated with fibroids are:

• Unusually heavy period
• Long than normal periods
• Bleeding in between periods
• Pressure and pain in the pelvis
• Frequent urination
• Lower back pain
• Pain during intercourse
• Difficulty conceiving

Ok, so back to the original question: What is Uterine Fibroid Embolization?

Uterine Fibroid Embolization is a non-invasive procedure to remove uterine fibroids. Rather than requiring general anesthesia, the procedure uses conscious sedation ( an IV of a light sedative) to help you to relax and remain pain-free during the UFE procedure.

Once the sedating medicine has been administered, our expert radiologist will begin the procedure.

The UFE procedure commences with our expert Interventional Radiologist, Dr. Rishi Sood, making a teeny tiny nick in the skin (about the size of the tip of a pencil). He will then thread a tiny 2mm catheter through the groin or wrist. Using moving X-ray technology (fluoroscopy), Dr. Rishi will then guide the catheter through the blood vessels until it reaches the artery that supplies blood to the fibroids.

Once the catheter reaches the artery that supplies blood to the fibroids, tiny gelatin beads are released through it, which travel into the artery, creating a blockage. This blockage cuts off the blood supply to the fibroids. And, without the fibroids being able to receive vital nutrients through the blood, they can not survive.

A blockage? Isn’t that dangerous?

No, in this case, it is not. Unlike a blockage to the heart or other vital organs, this particular blockage is only cutting off the blood supply to the fibroid. The results are remarkable, for, without the fibroids being able to receive vital nutrients through the blood, they shrink until they are altogether eliminated.

Does this sound too good to be true?

Maybe, but rest assured it is not. In fact, according to the New England Journal of Medicine, the success rate of uterine fibroid embolization is estimated to be upwards of 95%.

This is great news to the millions of women that are suffering from the pain and discomfort that comes with having uterine fibroids.

In our next article, we will take a look at what you can expect during the UFE procedure. What does it feel like? How long does it take? And what does the recovery period look like?

In the meantime, for more information on Uterine Fibroid Embolization, or to make an appointment for your consultation, please reach out to us at 301-622-5360.

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