Non-Invasive Treatment Options For Fibroids
There are several non-invasive treatment options for fibroids that do not include surgery. These options include:
- Watchful waiting: This is an option for women who do not have significant symptoms or symptoms that are bearable and manageable. For these patients, it is important to follow up regularly with the physician. Some fibroids may regress with time.
- Hormonal therapy: Fibroid growth has been shown to be stimulated by estrogen. Thus, medical management using hormonal therapy is another non-invasive option. Hormone therapy is usually an option for only a limited amount of time due to risk of side effects. Hormonal therapies seldom resolve fibroids completely, and when hormonal treatments are stopped, fibroids may grow back. There are several hormones available including GnRH analogues, IUDs, birth control pills, or ulipristal acetate.
- MRI guided focused ultrasound surgery (MRgFUS): MRgFUS is another non-invasive method to treat fibroids. An MRI allows for your physician to have detailed imaging of your uterus and fibroids. Ultrasound surgery uses focused energy to heat the fibroids to destruction.
Non-Invasive Treatment Options For Fibroids
There are several minimally-invasive treatment options in Houston that are effective for treating fibroids. In these cases, the fibroids themselves are treated directly.
Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE): This is a minimally invasive method of treating fibroids that selectively blocks blood flow to the tumor, causing them to shrink. This is an ideal option for women who wish to retain their uterus.
This procedure is performed by accessing the blood vessel system through a small puncture in the skin. Then fluoroscopy (a type of live x-ray) is used to navigate, using wires and catheters, to the blood vessels supplying the uterus. Once the target location is reach and confirmed using contrast, embolic agents can be injected into this specific vessel. This procedure is usually performed by a Doctor of interventional radiology.
Ablation: Radiofrequency ablation is another minimally invasive way to treat fibroids. This is done by making two 1 cm incisions in the abdomen through which a thin camera and thin instrument are placed. Ultrasound is then used to navigate around the uterus to assess the fibroids. The fibroids are then subjected to radiofrequency heat, which causes fibroids to shrink. This procedure is often done by a gynecologist.
Lab tests may also provide useful information. Your doctor will probably order tests to assess your complete blood count to determine if you have anemia due to fibroids or other causes.
Uterine Fibroid Surgical Treatment Options
Other options for the treatment of fibroids includes open and laparoscopic surgery. Open surgery involves making an incision in your abdomen in your “bikini line” and surgically removing the fibroids.
Laparoscopic surgery involves small incisions in your abdomen through which thin instruments including a camera are placed. Through the camera, it is possible to see the reproductive organs and fibroids can be removed using various instruments. Both kinds of surgery require general anesthesia and extended periods of recovery.
A hysterectomy is the most aggresive form of surgical treatment option for fibroids. There are different hysterectomy types depending on which reproductive organs are removed:
- Total hysterectomy: The most common type of hysterectomy. This involves removal of the uterus and cervix, but not the ovaries.
- Hysterectomy + Oophorectomy: This involves the removal of the uterus, one or both ovaries, and sometimes the fallopian tubes.
- Radical hysterectomy: This type of surgery is often reserved for treating cancer. This type involves removal of the uterus, cervix, the top part of the vagina, and tissue surrounding the cervix.
- Supracervical hysterectomy: In this type of surgery, the uterus is removed but the cervix is left.
Latest Treatment Options For Fibroids
The treatment landscape for fibroids is constantly evolving. The latest treatment consists of medication and uterine fibroid embolization. GnRH agonists and selective progesterone receptor modulators are the forefront of research. Long-term clinical trials have also elevated UFE to the forefront of modern treatment for fibroids.
Embolics, the particles used to decrease blood flow, have been developed to be safe and extremely effective. Additionally, because medical imaging has advanced exponentially, this has facilitated even safer and more effective procedures.
Let Our Experts Help You Determine The Best Option For Treating Your Fibroids
Every individual is different. Our team of Houston fibroid specialists can help you determine the best option for management and treatment of your fibroids using a customized plan that maximizes your goals.