Uterine fibroids are tumors or growths made of smooth muscle cells and other tissue that arise within the wall of the uterus or womb. They are the most common non-cancerous tumors in women of childbearing age.
Uterine fibroids can cause painful symptoms and abnormal bleeding from the uterus. Fibroids that are located in certain parts of the uterus, such as the uterine cavity, can also make it difficult for a woman to get pregnant or maintain a pregnancy.
Currently the only cure for fibroids is hysterectomy, removal of the uterus.
Most women with fibroids don’t have symptoms severe enough to warrant treatment. For those who do, there are a variety of therapies which are usually selected based on a woman’s age, medical history and whether she may want to get pregnant at some point; other factors include the size and location of the fibroids.
According to an article in the Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology, doctors are now utilizing a new way to access a woman's fibroids by entering a catheter through a woman’s wrist and treating via an arm instead of a groin artery to non-surgically shrink noncancerous growths in the muscular wall of the uterus. This method, offered at South Florida Vascular Associates is less painful and traumatic for women, allowing them to immediately sit up and move after uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) with no overnight stay.
Researchers at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City studied the access treatment used by cardiologists for coronary interventions and applied it to a minimally invasive treatment for women's uterine fibroids. By flipping access for treatment from the artery in the groin to the artery in the wrist, women experienced less pain and trauma than the traditional groin technique opening the door to potential savings in health care costs. Complications related to bleeding at the puncture site are significantly reduced using this approach and patients are able to walk immediately after treatment, which dramatically improves their experience.
Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) is a nonsurgical interventional radiology treatment for women that cuts off blood flow to painful fibroids to kill the noncancerous tumors. Uterine fibroids, which affect up to 40 percent of all women 35 and older, can cause prolonged, heavy menstrual bleeding that can be severe enough to cause anemia or require transfusion; disabling pelvic pain and pressure; urinary frequency; pain during intercourse; and miscarriage. Typically, interventional radiologists have delivered treatment directly to the fibroid by threading a catheter through a woman's femoral artery in her thigh. In this new approach, doctors thread a catheter through one of two arteries in a woman's left wrist. They then made a tiny nick in the skin and inserted a catheter into the artery. Using real-time imaging, the doctor guided the catheter through the artery and then released tiny particles, the size of grains of sand, into the uterine arteries that supply blood to the fibroid tumor. This blocked the blood flow to the fibroid tumor and caused it to shrink and symptoms to subside. UFE is more desired than the traditional hysterectomy procedure that removes the entire uterus.
If you are suffering from painful fibroids, we invite you to contact our office to have a consultation with one of our board certified interventional radiologists, Dr. William Julien, Dr. Warren Swee, and Dr. Curtis Anderson. We have three office locations for your convenience. Coconut Creek, Boynton Beach, and Plantation.