Many Women Unaware of Better Fibroid Treatment

Technique offers an alternative to hysterectomy

(RANDY DOTINGA, HEALTHDAY) Many American women with uterine fibroids don’t know there’s a minimally invasive embolization technique that may be an alternative to a hysterectomy, a new poll finds.

Surgery for fibroids may be unnecessary. ©Khamidulin | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

“Misperceptions about uterine fibroids and the treatments available often lead women to undergo invasive and potentially unnecessary surgery for their fibroids, despite more than 20 years of clinical use supporting uterine fibroid embolization,” said Dr. James Spies.

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Spies, a professor of radiology at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, D.C., is a former president of the Society of Interventional Radiology (SIR). That group commissioned the online Harris Poll survey of almost 1,200 women.

Radiologists perform uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) to treat tumors that grow in the wall of the uterus. These tumors are usually benign, according to the U.S. Office on Women’s Health.

 Radiologists guide a catheter through an artery to the blood supply of a fibroid. Once at the fibroid’s blood supply, the radiologist releases small particles to block the blood vessels that nourish the fibroid, the researchers explained.

The treatment has a high success rate, SIR says. About nine out of 10 women who have uterine fibroid embolization have significant improvement. Many women report their symptoms disappear completely.

The study found that:

  • Fifty-seven percent of women don’t think they face any risk of uterine fibroids.
  • Forty-four percent of women diagnosed with uterine fibroids weren’t aware of uterine fibroid embolization.
  • Among women diagnosed with uterine fibroids who have heard about embolization, 46 percent didn’t first learn about it from their obstetrician-gynecologist.