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Embolization a Nonsurgical Way to Treat Fibroids
Date:3/18/2008

It works even after other therapies have failed, but many women unaware of this option, experts say,,

TUESDAY, March 18 (HealthDay News) -- Uterine artery embolization is an effective, non-surgical therapy for fibroids, even after a woman has had other treatments such as focused ultrasound surgery, a new study says.

But another team of researchers reports that many American women are unaware of embolization as a treatment option.

The two studies were to be presented Tuesday at the Society of Interventional Radiology's annual meeting, in Washington, D.C.

"If you're suffering with symptomatic fibroids, you don't have to have surgery. Uterine artery embolization is an excellent option," said the author of one of the studies, Dr. John Lipman, director of interventional radiology at Emory-Adventist Hospital in Atlanta. "There are some women who are silent sufferers. They basically hemorrhage each month because they know they don't want a hysterectomy and they feel it's the only option. So, they just sit on the sidelines because they don't want the surgery."

Uterine artery embolization (UAE), which is sometimes called uterine fibroid embolization, cuts off the blood supply to fibroids by blocking the uterine arteries. The procedure is minimally invasive, doesn't require general anesthesia, and often allows women to return to normal daily activities within a week, instead of the six weeks or so needed for recovery from a hysterectomy.

The downside to this procedure is that it's not effective for everyone, and in rare cases, the fibroids may recur, according to the Society of Interventional Radiology (SIR).

Other treatment options -- such as hysterectomy (surgical removal of the uterus) and myomectomy (surgical removal of individual fibroids) -- are available, as is magnetic resonance-guided focused ultrasound. This technique is also known as focused ultrasound surgery (FUS) or ablati
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