Hysterectomy vs. UFE
Uterine fibroids are an incredibly common diagnosis for women. It is common for women to have numerous fibroid tumors that are located in various parts of the uterus. In fact, three out of every four women in the U.S. have fibroids during their lifetime. Nearly 75% of women suffer from fibroids by the age of 50.
If you have been diagnosed with fibroid tumors, and are experiencing the symptoms common to fibroids including heavy and/or prolonged menstrual bleeding, painful sexual intercourse, pelvic pressure and pain, you may be considering a hysterectomy to remove your uterus. There is a minimally invasive and safe alternative to surgery you should consider first. Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) may be the better option for you.
Risks of Hysterectomy
The traditional treatment for fibroid tumors has primarily been surgical. For women during childbearing years, a myomectomy is performed to remove fibroids and sew the uterus back together. For most women a hysterectomy is performed where the uterus is removed, with or without the ovaries.
Like any type of surgery, there are risks you should be aware of before undergoing a hysterectomy, including:
A hysterectomy often requires hospitalization. Patients may be required to stay in the hospital for several days up to several weeks depending on the outcome and type surgery performed.
Required General Anesthesia
General anesthesia is used for major surgeries including hysterectomies. Common risks associated with general anesthesia include heart attack, high blood pressure, breathing or lung problems, organ failure, brain damage and even death.
Large Incision and Scar
An abdominal hysterectomy is invasive surgery leaving noticeable scar. In this procedure, the uterus may removed through a large incision in the abdomen, typically a horizontal cut along the bikini line or a vertical incision when required. Laproscopic hysterectomy will leave smaller scars than open hysterectomy.
Injury to Adjacent Organs
A hysterectomy is a very delicate procedure. If there are any complications during the surgery, patients can suffer damage to the bladder, urinary tract and other organs adjacent to the uterus. In addition, damage to or the removal of ovaries may also occur.
Long Recovery Period
A patient may take weeks or even months to heal from a hysterectomy. During that time, patients must refrain from work, sexual intercourse and engaging in any other kind of strenuous activity.
Long-Term Side Effects
Some patients suffer side effects long after their hysterectomy. Sexual dysfunction, constipation, weight gain, and pelvic pain are common side effects associated with a hysterectomy, especially in older women.
Advantages of UFE
Today, fibroid treatments are available using interventional radiology in lieu of surgery. Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) is an established, proven, minimally invasive procedure using interventional radiology to destroy fibroids in the uterus by depriving them of their blood supply.
The UFE procedure involves the injection of tiny particles into the artery leading to the fibroid to cut off the blood flow to the tumor. Once the artery is completely blocked, the fibroid will no longer have a regular supply of blood causing the tumor to shrink and scar which will reduce or eliminate symptoms.
More women are asking for UFE as it is a safer non-surgical alternative to a hysterectomy. Most of the risks associated with a hysterectomy are eliminated for patients who choose an interventional radiology procedure over surgery as follows:
UFE is less invasive, involves a shorter recovery time, and results in a significant reduction or elimination of symptoms.
While a hysterectomy often requires hospitalization, patients who choose UFE for fibroids are able to receive treatment as an outpatient and in cases they return home the same day.
No General Anesthesia
General anesthesia is used for major surgeries including hysterectomies. UFE does not require general anesthesia. Conscious intravenous sedation and local anesthesia are used in place of general anesthesia.
UFE does not require a surgical incision only a small nick in the skin easily covered by a small bandage. The tiny incision typically heals within one week’s time without stitches or a scar.
No Risk of Injury to Adjacent Organs
Because UFE is non-surgical, there is a very low risk of injury to adjacent organs associated with this procedure.
Short Recovery Period
While a patient may take weeks or even months to heal from a hysterectomy, patients who receive fibroid treatment by UFE have a much shorter recovery time of 4 days, up to one week.
Long-Term Success vs. Side Effects
There are no long-term side effects associated with UFE. Medical studies have reported a success rate of over 90% by women who have opted for UFE versus traditional treatments and surgery. The average reduction in a fibroid tumor’s volume after UFE treatment is 40% by the third month, and 65% after the sixth month. This leads to a 90% reduction in symptoms. The remaining 10% of patients reported slight improvements or no change, but not worse symptoms.
You do not have to feel alone during this time. The Fibroid Center truly cares about you and your unique situation and is here to help.
The Fibroid Center can help detect, diagnose and treat your uterine fibroids with Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE), the minimally-invasive treatment and safe non-surgical alternative to a traditional hysterectomy.