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Finding Hope Without Hysterectomy

In previous years, women who sought treatment for uterine fibroids had few options, one of which was a hysterectomy. Now, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Allen offers a less invasive solution for women with this condition.

Uterine fibroid embolization is a minimally invasive alternative to hysterectomy for many women,” says Adrian Moger, M.D., vascular and interventional radiologist on the medical staff at Texas Health Allen. “Using image guidance, the physician guides a small catheter into the uterine artery to deliver FDA-approved [U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved] particles to cut off blood supply to the fibroids. Without blood supply, the fibroids shrink. Patients don’t need general anesthesia, and most women can — and do — go home the following morning.”

According to Moger, minimal scarring is associated with the procedure, and patients have reported a 96 percent satisfaction rate. Unlike hysterectomy, uterine fibroid embolization preserves the uterus, which may be important to many patients.

Moger also states that studies have shown uterine fibroid embolization has an 85 percent success rate, and one of the biggest benefits of the procedure is that it allows patients to return to their normal routines quickly.

“The recovery period for hysterectomy patients can be as long as six weeks,” Moger says. “In many cases, this includes a longer stay in the hospital and a much longer absence from work. The majority of busy mothers and dedicated career women who are living with uterine fibroids simply don’t have the time to be away from their lives that long. Typically, uterine fibroid embolization patients are back at work and fully active within one to two weeks.”

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, uterine fibroids are non-cancerous tumors that grow along the walls of the uterus. The majority of women with this condition experience no symptoms. However, women who do have symptoms may have a decreased quality of life. Common symptoms include:

• Pelvic discomfort

• Anemia

• Heavy menstrual bleeding

• Constipation

“Fibroids are common in the general population,” Moger says. “The good news is that in the majority of women who don’t have symptoms, fibroids can still be detected through a routine gynecological exam. For those who do experience symptoms, however, uterine fibroid embolization is an approved alternative to hysterectomy in select women.”

To learn more about uterine fibroid embolization, visit TexasHealth.org/allenfibroids or call 1-877-THR-WELL (1-877-847-9355).

(Fall/Winter 2009)

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