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Fibroid Embolization vs. Hysterectomy

July 29th, 2010

A commentary in the health section of the Reuters website talked about a recent study released by the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology (AJOG) which demonstrated comparable physical or mental quality of life rates reported when studying women who undergo either a hysterectomy or Uterine Artery Embolization (UAE), also known as Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE). Additionally, the study showed that more than 4 out of 5 women in both groups were very satisfied with the treatment they had received. This information proves as significant due to the fact that previous studies have suggested that hysterecomy may be optimal for women that want to fully and completely eradicate their fibroids; however, the results of this study suggest that embolization could be a worthwhile choice for many women, especially for those that do not want to bear a long recovery period and do want to keep their fertility options open.

The study released in AJOG followed about 150 women, most in their forties, who had uterine fibroids that hadn’t responded to medication. The women were divided up randomly – half got a hysterectomy, and the other half had UAE done.  After following this cohort of women for 5 years, the results yielded no significant difference in satisfaction of the procedure and both groups reported that their fibroids were either gone or improved.  Therefore, those women that treated their fibroids with UFE not only shared the same level of satisfaction with their procedure and the outcome, but they also had the advantage of a less invasive treatment with little risk of complication. The study further touted the effectiveness of UFE and its safe and effective approach to treatment for uterine fibroids, specifically when presented with traditional surgical options such as hysterectomy and myomectomy.

Dr. Jim Reekers, a radiologist at Amsterdam’s Academic Medical Center and one of the study’s authors, told Reuters Health , “Hysterectomies often keep a patient in the hospital for up to five or six days, and they won’t be totally back on their feet for more than a month…After embolization, women can leave the hospital in a day and be back at work within a week”.  He also included that the procedure can be “much more friendly to the patient”.  Still, Dr. Linda Bradley, the vice chair of obstetrics and gynecology at the Cleveland Clinic, shares that the type of treatment needed can often depend on factors such as the patient’s symptoms and the location of the fibroids.  This being said, she states that patients should be open about what they want and doctors have to be honest about the treatment options they provide for their patients.

SOURCE: http://www.ajog.org/article/S0002-9378(10)00079-7/abstract


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