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Gorilla Receives State-Of-The-Art Treatment for Uterine Fibroids from Interventional Radiologists
Date:9/19/2007

Uterine artery embolization procedure performed on gorilla in Brookfield

Zoo, Chicago

FAIRFAX, Va., Sept. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Beta, the gorilla, has been suffering since 2005 from abdominal discomfort and heavy vaginal bleeding caused by uterine fibroids, noncancerous tumors that develop in the muscular wall of the uterus. She lives at the Brookfield Zoo in the suburbs of Chicago, IL, and is a 46-year-old menopausal western lowland gorilla. Doctors have attempted to treat her with endometrial ablation (removal of the lining in the uterus) with little success. Interventional radiologists, Drs. Steven Smith, Luke Sewall and Francis Facchini from Adventist La Grande Memorial Hospital, just outside of Chicago, IL, were called upon to help Beta with uterine fibroid embolization (UFE), a nonsurgical procedure that kills the fibroids.

Uterine fibroids are something Beta has in common with 20 to 40 percent of human women age 35 and older. Most fibroids don't cause symptoms -- only 10 to 20 percent of women who have fibroids require treatment. Typically, women with symptoms from uterine fibroids are recommended to have a hysterectomy. With a hysterectomy, there is usually a three- to four-day stay in the hospital and about a six-week recovery period. After UFE, women typically only stay one night in the hospital and can be back to normal activity within seven to ten days. On average, 85 to 90 percent of women who have had the procedure experience significant or total relief of heavy bleeding, pain and/or other symptoms. "Most women who have symptomatic fibroids are candidates for UFE and can be cured long-term with this safer, less invasive therapy. Despite the availability of this uterine-sparing procedure, hysterectomy is still the treatment usually recommended for fibroids in the United States," says interventional radiologist Steven Smith, MD from Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital.

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SOURCE Society of Interventional Radiology
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