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Interventional Radiology Treatment for Uterine Fibroids: Safe, Nonsurgical Option
Date:8/13/2009

ritten with James B. Spies, M.D., M.P.H., FSIR, professor of radiology and chair of the radiology department at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, D.C.--begins with a case vignette that includes treatment recommendations. It includes a review of treatment benefit, major clinical studies, the clinical use of this treatment and potential adverse effects--ending with the co-authors' clinical recommendations. In this case, a gynecologist had recommended a hysterectomy for a 45-year-old African-American woman who had had an abnormally heavy and prolonged menstrual period and severe uterine pain during menstruation over the past 10 years. The woman did not want a hysterectomy and sought alternatives. She was referred to an interventional radiologist who ordered an MRI exam. Women typically undergo an ultrasound at their gynecologist's office as part of the evaluation process to determine the presence of uterine fibroids. An MRI offers additional benefits, explained Goodwin.

Uterine fibroids are benign tumors that 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. Twenty to 40 percent of women age 35 and older have uterine fibroids of a significant size; African-American women are at a higher risk for fibroids (as many as 50 percent have fibroids of a significant size).

Pioneered and performed by interventional radiologists, UFE blocks tiny blood vessels that feed fibroids, causing the tumor(s) to die and symptoms to subside. An interventional radiologist uses imaging to guide a thin catheter to the uterine artery to treat the source of the disease internally, avoiding open surgery. The procedure offers less risk, less pain and a shorter recovery time compared to open surgery.

More information about SIR, interventional radiologists, uterine fib
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SOURCE Society of Interventional Radiology
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