Modern, innovative treatment options for uterine fibroids
What are uterine fibroids?
Fibroids are benign, non-cancerous growths within or on the muscular walls of the uterus. Some may be as small as a pea, while others can be as large as a cantaloupe. Over half of women (57%) do not think they are at risk for development of uterine fibroids.¹ Research has shown that 70% of White women and 84% of Black women will develop uterine fibroids by the time they are 49 years old.²
WHAT ARE SOME RISK FACTORS FOR DEVELOPING UTERINE FIBROIDS?
Increased risk factors include:
- High blood pressure
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Race (especially prevalent in Black women)
- Nulliparity (never carried a pregnancy beyond 20 weeks)
- Family history of fibroids
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF UTERINE FIBROIDS?
Some women may have no symptoms. For others, the physical effects and bleeding can be debilitating. Uterine fibroids diagnosis can be confirmed by using ultrasound screening and MRI scan.
Symptoms may include:
- Pelvic pain and pressure
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Menstrual cramping
- Abdominal pain
- Pain during or after intercourse
- Pain down the back of one or both legs
- Urge to urinate frequently
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I WAS DIAGNOSED WITH UTERINE FIBROIDS?
Schedule an evaluation with VIE to determine the best treatment options for you. Of women diagnosed with uterine fibroids, 1 in 5 believe hysterectomy to be the only treatment option.³ However, some hysterectomies may not be necessary due to well-established treatment options such as Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE).
WHAT ARE THE TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR UTERINE FIBROIDS?
- Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE)
- Magnetic resonance-guided focused ultrasound ablation (MRgFUS)
- Laparoscopic ultrasound-guided radiofrequency ablation
IS UFE AN ALTERNATIVE TO SURGERY?
Yes! UFE is an alternative to surgery and has been performed for over 20 years. UFE successfully eliminates or significantly improves fibroid-related symptoms in approximately 90% of women, and the recovery period is significantly shorter than surgical procedures.⁴ While no procedure is completely risk-free, complications from UFE are rare and most patients are back to normal activity in 1-2 weeks.
Dr. Wolfe and Dr. Cumming will partner with you and/or your existing care team (ex: primary care, OB-GYN) to determine if you’re a candidate for UFE.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF UFE?
- Keep your uterus
- Non-surgical treatment
- Intravenous sedation – no general anesthesia
- Fast recovery – most women are back to normal activity in 1-2 weeks
- Leave with just an adhesive bandage
- Menstrual flow returns to normal
- Pelvic pain and pressure are relieved
- Urinary frequency decreases
- Significant reduction in size of the fibroids
HOW IS UFE PERFORMED?
1. Intravenous sedation enables sleep during the procedure without general anesthesia.
2. A catheter is inserted into an artery through a tiny pinhole via the groin or wrist, then guided via real-time X-rays to the specific artery supplying blood to the fibroids.
3. Particles are injected through the catheter, blocking the blood supply to the fibroids and making them shrink.
4. Once the embolization (particle injection) is complete, the catheter is gently removed.
AM I A UFE CANDIDATE?
We often remind patients that if they are a candidate for a myomectomy or hysterectomy, then they are a candidate for UFE.
If you answer “yes” to three or more of the below questions, UFE may be the right treatment option for you.
- PREGNANCY: Do I want to have children in the future?
- MENOPAUSE: Do I want to avoid taking hormones or going through early menopause?
- COMPLICATIONS: Am I worried about complications, such as pain or infection?
- SURGERY: Would I prefer to undergo a minimally invasive treatment over a major surgery?
- RECOVERY: Would a shorter recovery time be preferable for my lifestyle?
Here's what you can expect from your visit:
- CONSULTATION: Symptom review and health history discussion.
- IMAGING: Ultrasound screening & MRI scan to accurately determine the specific location and size of fibroids.
- TREATMENT PLAN: A comprehensive review of all symptoms, exams and imaging enable Dr. Wolfe and Dr. Cumming to provide definitive treatment recommendations. Ultimately, patients choose their preferred option.