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WHY RESIST HYSTERECTOMY?

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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NONSURGICAL TREATMENT OF UTERINE FIBROIDS

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Uterine fibroid disease is a very common problem among women of reproductive age. Until recently, the only treatment for fibroids was surgery. Today, owing to the developments in medicine, there are several nonsurgical treatment options. Among them, fibroid embolization is the mostly accepted one and has been in clinical practice for more than 15 years.

Embolization means intentional occlusion of the feeding arteries of a tissue. For this, a catheter is placed into the feeding arteries and occluding materials such as small particles are injected. Once the arteries are occluded, the embolized tissue will have a reduction in blood supply, become smaller in size and may undergo partial or total necrosis (death). Thus, embolization may be used to stop bleeding anywhere in our body, to reduce the size of tumors or to kill tumors. For these purposes, it has been successfully used in medicine for about 50 years. Embolization has also been intensively used to treat uterine fibroids in the last 2 decades, and has rapidly become the treatment of choice in many types of this disease.

This web site has been prepared by Prof Saim Yilmaz, MD, who works at the Department of Interventional Radiology, Akdeniz University Medical Faculty, Antalya-Turkey. Its purpose is to provide objective information about the current therapeutic options for uterine fibroids with special emphasis on recent nonsurgical treatments including embolization.

Why uterine fibroid embolization (UFE)?

  • It is performed under local anesthesia, there are no incision and stitches.
  • Short hospital stay and early return to daily activities.
  • It is a successful treatment, in more than 90% of patients, firoid symptms subside or disappear.
  • Low risk of recurrence, because it is effective to all the fibroids in the uterus.
  • Lower complication rates compared to hysterectomy and myomectomy.
  • Practically suitable for all fibroids except for subserosal ones with a narrow connection to uterus.
  • Also suitable for women who desire future pregnancy, if performed by experienced hands.
  • A practically painless operation. Also little postop pain in experienced centers.
  • Has been accepted as a "safe and effective" treatment by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) since 2008.
  • A well-known procedure in USA and Europe. It as been successfully performed in millions of women for the last two decades.