Underutilized nonsurgical treatment for uterine fibroids

Most women have heard about uterine fibroids – benign tumors that affect 70-80% of women at some point in their lives. However, very few women are aware that they can be removed without surgery. The procedure is called uterine fibroid embolization (UFE). A recent survey conducted by the Society of Interventional Radiology reported that 44% of women diagnosed with uterine fibroids never heard of the minimally invasive procedure. And amazingly – those who did know about UFE learned about it from sources other than their OB-GYN.

UFE involves insertion of a very small catheter through an artery to the location of the fibroid. Tiny particles are released to block the flow of blood to the tumor thereby shrinking and ultimately killing the fibroid. Patients are back to normal activities in about a week, says the Society of Interventional Radiology. That is a much shorter recovery as compared to hysterectomy, which is the common surgical treatment.

There are also other options to consider besides the traditional hysterectomy approach, including medication, laproscopic surgical procedures and ultrasound surgery. Please educate yourself and help to inform others so that the best option for each individual can be chosen.

Linda Brent, PhD

Executive Director, Parsemus Foundation

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