Vinay Nijhawan, M.D.
Radiology and Imaging, Vascular Medicine
Many women suffer monthly or even daily from a benign uterine condition called fibroids. Symptoms from these troublesome growths can cause pain, heavy bleeding during and between periods, pelvic bloating and frequent urination. All of these symptoms can lead to a diminished quality of life and time off from work.
Interventional radiologists can help women with fibroids with a minimally invasive treatment, uterine fibroid embolization. The procedure involves using X-ray technology to inject small particles into the arteries supplying the uterus, cutting off blood flow to fibroids causing them to shrink and die.
This procedure has be shown to be effective in shrinking fibroids and relieving the symptoms they cause. The results have been dramatic. Patients are able to participate in activities they’ve had to avoid for years. Many patients find improvements in their moods and relationships and no longer fear going to work or out for the evening.
Many women are offered hysterectomies for fibroids. Over 600,000 hysterectomies are performed every year in the United States, and it’s estimated that a third of these are done for fibroids. Although hysterectomy surgery may be appropriate for some women, the procedure carries significantly more risk and time away from work and activities compared with uterine fibroid embolization.
With a uterine fibroid embolization, women can expect no general anesthesia or large incisions. The procedure takes about an hour to perform and requires less than a 24-hour hospital stay. Most women are able to return to work and normal activities in seven to 10 days. Each year, over 14,000 uterine fibroid embolization procedures are performed in the United States.
Talk with your primary care provider or gynecologist if you suffer from fibroid symptoms and to determine if a uterine fibroid embolization is right for you.