Halting Hysterectomies: Unique Uterine Fibroid Treatment



FLORIDA - BACKGROUND:  Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous growths of the uterus that often appear during your childbearing years. Also called fibromyomas, leiomyomas or myomas, uterine fibroids aren't associated with an increased risk of uterine cancer and almost never develop into cancer. As many as 3 out of 4 women have uterine fibroids sometime during their lives, but most are unaware of them because they often cause no symptoms. Your doctor may discover fibroids incidentally during a pelvic exam or prenatal ultrasound. In general, uterine fibroids seldom require treatment. Medical therapy and surgical procedures can shrink or remove fibroids if you have discomfort or troublesome symptoms. Rarely, fibroids can require emergency treatment if they cause sudden, sharp pelvic pain or profuse menstrual bleeding. (Source: mayoclinic.com)

SIGNS AND TYPES: In women who have symptoms, the most common symptoms of uterine fibroids include: heavy menstrual bleeding, prolonged menstrual periods — seven days or more of menstrual bleeding, pelvic pressure or pain, frequent urination, difficulty emptying your bladder, constipation, backache or leg pains. Rarely, a fibroid can cause acute pain when it outgrows its blood supply. Deprived of nutrients, the fibroid begins to die. Byproducts from a degenerating fibroid can seep into surrounding tissue, causing pain and fever. A fibroid that hangs by a stalk inside or outside the uterus (pedunculated fibroid) can trigger pain by twisting on its stalk and cutting off its blood supply. Fibroid location influences your signs and symptoms: Submucosal fibroids: Fibroids that grow into the inner cavity of the uterus (submucosal fibroids) are thought to be primarily responsible for prolonged, heavy menstrual bleeding and are a problem for women attempting pregnancy. Subserosal fibroids: Fibroids that project to the outside of the uterus (subserosal fibroids) can sometimes press on your bladder, causing you to experience urinary symptoms. If fibroids bulge from the back of your uterus, they occasionally can press either on your rectum, causing constipation, or on your spinal nerves, causing backache. See your doctor if you have: pelvic pain that doesn't go away, overly heavy or painful periods, spotting or bleeding between periods, pain with intercourse, difficulty emptying your bladder, or difficulty moving your bowels. Seek prompt medical care if you have severe vaginal bleeding or sharp pelvic pain that comes on suddenly. (Source: mayoclinic.com)

HYSTERECTOMY AND FIBROIDS: Hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus. The ovaries may also be removed, although this is not necessary for fibroid treatment. Hysterectomy is a permanent solution for fibroids, and is an option if other treatments have not worked or are not appropriate. Traditionally, the most common treatment for uterine fibroid tumors is to remove the entire uterus in a surgical procedure . Many physicians continue to recommend hysterectomy as the standard in uterine fibroid tumor treatment, sometimes because they are not familiar with newer, less invasive options. In fact, two-thirds of the 600,000 hysterectomies performed each year in the U.S. are for treatment of uterine fibroid tumors. (Source: Dr.Fibroid.com)

NEW TECHNOLOGY:  A new procedure developed by Dr. Atul Gupta involves combining patient images from multiple modalities like MRI and CT scan to create a real-time 3-D map that displays the instrument position, orientation, and trajectory, as well as anatomical landmarks. This 'map' helps to guide physicians to areas of interest, even when they are small, hard to visualize, difficult to access, or close to sensitive organs, vessels, or tissue.

“The catheter that we guide through the body is 18/1000 of an inch in diameter. This is why the procedure is minimally invasive and requires no scars or incisions,” Dr. Atul Gupta, M.D., Director of Interventional Radiology at Paoli Hospital, told Ivanhoe.   “What we are doing is we are plugging up the arteries that supply the fibroids and basically we are choking off the blood supply.” (Source: PR Newswire, Interview with Dr. Atul Gupta)