Treatment Options for Fibroids in Kentucky
Non-Surgical Fibroid Relief for Women from Louisville, Lexington and Cincinnati
Have you been diagnosed with uterine fibroids or believe that you have fibroids and are looking for a safe, less invasive alternative to surgery? See our fibroid specialists at Louisville Fibroids. We specialize in a non-surgical Uterine Fibroid Embolization procedure that destroys the fibroid tissue by blocking its blood supply. It’s a safe procedure with minimal side effects and decreases pressure, pain and bleeding from fibroids.
Uterine fibroid embolization is considered to be the least invasive and the most effective method to treat symptomatic uterine fibroids because it has minimal effect on the woman’s uterus and her ability to have children in the future. With multiple locations throughout Louisville, we are also conveniently located to the surrounding cities of Lexington, Evansville, and Cincinnati.
Uterine fibroids are a common condition that 20%-40% of women over the age of 35 experience. They can develop at any age however and can cause a great deal of discomfort and pain. But that doesn’t mean you have to live with the pain and discomfort. Treatment options area available and range from non-invasive in mild cases, to surgical procedures in more complex cases.
If your care provider determines that you have uterine fibroids, it is a good idea to discuss the various treatment options for fibroids that are available to you. Learn more about procedures like uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) below.
DIAGNOSIS AND WATCHFUL WAITING
If your fibroids do not cause symptoms, there is no need to treat them. Your doctor may want to watch them and monitor for any fibroid growth at each of your annual gynecological (OB-GYN) examinations. Some women may have fibroids, but not experience symptoms that affect their daily life.
Medications for uterine fibroids target hormones that regulate your menstrual cycle, treating symptoms such as heavy menstrual bleeding and pelvic pressure. They don’t eliminate fibroids, but may shrink them. The side effects of using these medications are similar to the symptoms experienced as a result of hormonal changes during and after menopause. These include weight gain, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, mood swings, changes in metabolism and infertility. In almost all cases, once hormone therapy has been stopped, fibroids tend to grow back, possibly reaching their original size again.
MAGNETIC RESONANCE GUIDED FOCUSED ULTRASOUND SURGERY (MRgFUS)
High intensity focused ultrasound waves are used to heat an area of the fibroid, causing cell death. Pulses of ultrasound energy are repeatedly applied to treat the fibroid. During treatment, magnetic resonance images are used to enable the doctor to see the fibroid and surrounding organs in 3-D, pinpoint, guide, and continuously monitor the treatment in a non-invasive manner. The procedure can take 3-4 hours and requires you to lie on your stomach. Patients may experience some abdominal pain, cramping or nausea. You may experience some cramps, shoulder or back pain that may last a few days after the procedure. Most women are able to return to work within 1-2 days.
UTERINE FIBROID EMBOLIZATION (UFE)
The uterine fibroid embolization procedure begins with a tiny incision in the groin area. This incision provides the Interventional Radiologist (IR) with access to the femoral artery in the upper thigh. Using specialized X-ray equipment, the IR doctor passes a catheter (small tube) into the femoral artery and then into the uterine artery. Once the catheter is in this position, the IR injects embolic material (tiny round particles) through the catheter and into the blood flow leading to the uterine fibroid tumors. The embolic material travels to the blood vessels around the fibroid, depriving the fibroid of blood. This shrinks to fibroids. The embolic material remains permanently in the blood vessels at the fibroid site. This procedure does not harm the uterus. The catheter is then moved to the other side of the uterus, using the same incision in the thigh. Once the IR has completed embolization of the uterine artery on both sides, the catheter is gently removed. The entire fibroid treatment typically lasts less than one hour. Patients usually stay anywhere from four to 23 hours after the procedure is complete.
A procedure called endometrial ablation destroys the endometrium – the lining of your uterus – with the goal of reducing your menstrual flow. In some women, menstrual flow may stop completely. No incisions are needed for endometrial ablation. Your doctor inserts slender tools through your cervix — the passageway between your vagina and your uterus. The tools vary, depending on the method used to destroy the endometrium. Some types of endometrial ablation use extreme cold, while other methods depend on heated fluids, microwave energy or high-energy radio frequencies. Women with fibroids should only consider endometrial ablation as a treatment option if they have small (less than one inch in diameter) fibroids near the inside lining of the uterus.
In this procedure a long, thin scope with a light is passed through the vagina and cervix into the uterus. A camera also can be used with the scope. Submucosal or intracavitary fibroids that are visualized can be resected or removed. Only fibroids that are small and on or near the inside of the uterine lining can be treated this way.
The laparoscope is a slender telescope that is inserted through small incision to view the pelvic and abdominal organs. Two or three small, half-inch incisions are made below the pubic hairline and instruments are passed through these small incisions to perform the surgery. Fibroids are located, grasped, and freed from their attachments to the normal uterine muscle. The fibroids are removed through one of the small incisions after morcellating them, or cutting them into small pieces inside the abdomen.
Using a larger abdominal incision, a gynecologic surgeon removes the fibroids that can be safely cut from or out of the uterus.
The uterus is removed through the abdomen via a surgical incision about six to eight inches long. The tissues connecting the uterus to blood vessels and other structures in the pelvis will be carefully cut away. The uterus will be removed, along with any other structures such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and cervix, as required. Abdominal hysterectomy usually requires a hospital stay of one to two days. The recovery period is usually about six weeks.
Hysterectomies can be performed traditionally with an open abdominal and pelvic incision, as well as transvaginally, laparoscopically and using robotics.