OAK BROOK, Ill. A new multicenter trial found that uterine artery embolization (UAE) is a good alternative to hysterectomy in women with symptomatic fibroids. The findings of the Embolisation versus Hysterectomy (EMMY) Trial appear in the March issue of the journal Radiology.
After two years, patients who had undergone UAE reported health-related quality of life equal to that of women who had undergone hysterectomy, said study co-author Jim A. Reekers, M.D., Ph.D., an interventional radiologist at Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Uterine fibroids are benign growths of the muscle inside the uterus. According to the National Institutes of Health, at least 25 percent of women in the U.S. age 25 to 50 suffer from symptomatic uterine fibroids. Fibroid symptoms can include excessive menstrual bleeding, enlarged uterine size, frequent urination, pelvic pressure or pain and infertility.
According to the National Womens Health Information Center, fibroids are the primary reason for surgical removal of the uterus, accounting for approximately one-third of the 600,000 hysterectomies performed annually in the U.S.
UAE is a minimally invasive fibroid treatment in which catheters are placed in each of the two uterine arteries, and small particles are injected to block the arterial branches that supply blood to the fibroids. The fibroid tissue dies, the masses shrink and, in most cases, symptoms are relieved. UAE requires only a local anesthetic and has a shorter recovery period than hysterectomy.
UAE has a number of benefits compared to hysterectomy, said co-author Wouter J.K. Hehenkamp, M.D., gynecology resident at Academic Medical Centre. With UAE, there is a faster recovery time, a shorter hospital stay and, most importantly, the uterus is not removed.
For the EMMY trial, 177 women with uterine fibroids and heavy menstrual bleeding scheduled to undergo hysterectomy were randomly assigned to undergo
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Radiological Society of North America