What are common methods of fibroid removal?

March 25, 2015

Fibroids are tumors or lumps of smooth tissue that grow outside or within the uterine wall of women. Most fibroids are non-cancerous, but they can cause bloating, pelvic pain, difficulty urinating and constipation. Some women may also experience heavy bleeding due to uterine fibroids and run the risk of becoming anemic. Nearly 20 to 80 percent of women develop uterine fibroids by the age of 50. Women experiencing moderate to severe symptoms may wish to have the uterine fibroids removed and have the option to undergo any of the following procedures for fibroid removal, depending upon their preferences and the severity of their condition:

Endometrial Ablation—Pros and Cons

Endometrial ablation is a procedure to remove the lining of the uterine wall, and thereby reduce or eliminate menstrual bleeding. It is not specifically designed or approved to treat fibroids but some endometrial ablation devices are approved to be used in the presence of fibroids. To perform endometrial ablation, the surgeon inserts a heated balloon or a tool into the uterus to either heat or freeze the lining. This procedure is minimally invasive, which is a benefit, but it is only recommended for women who have completed childbearing.

Myomectomy—Pros and Cons

Myomectomy is a procedure that removes only the fibroids from the uterus. Myomectomy can be performed by any one of the following three ways: hysteroscopy, laparotomy or laparoscopy. Nearly 80 to 90 percent of women experience relief from symptoms of uterine fibroids after this procedure. However, sometimes this procedure involves making an incision in the uterine wall to remove the larger fibroids. Smaller fibroids may not be removed if it involves another incision in the uterus and increases risk. If small fibroids are not removed, they may grow, become problematic, and patients may be , subjected to another procedure in the future.

Hysterectomy–Pros and Cons

Hysterectomy is a surgical procedure that is recommended for women who are either struggling with very large fibroids or have a multitude of fibroids (too many to treat or remove individually). A hysterectomy involves the complete or partial removal of the uterus and is the only way to prevent the reoccurrence of uterine fibroids. It is also recommended at times for women experiencing heavy bleeding due to uterine fibroids, as this might be the only way the doctors can stop the dangerous bleeding. While this procedure does prevent uterine fibroid regrowth, it is also highly invasive and requires recovery time, with the post-operative recuperation varying between one to two months in some cases.

The Acessa System – Pros and Cons

The Acessa Procedure is a minimally-invasive technique that treats uterine fibroids. The Acessa System has been cleared by the FDA with this specific indication for treating uterine fibroids. Radiofrequency ablation is performed during the Acessa procedure where a small array of needles points directly apply energy to each uterine fibroid. As a result, the fibroids are treated and the surrounding uterine tissue remains healthy and intact. This procedure makes use of laparoscopic ultrasound probe technology to detect fibroids as small as 2mm in diameter. The Acessa Procedure is minimally invasive and patients can go home the same day. Some patients experience minor abdominal discomfort requiring non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication after the procedure, patients can generally return to work within 3-5 days. There are many risks involved in laparoscopic procedures to learn more you should consult an Access-trained gynecologist.

Sources:

  1. http://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/uterine/conditioninfo/treatments/pages/surgical-treatments.aspx
  2. http://womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/uterine-fibroids.html?from=AtoZ

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