Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) is a non-invasive method to treat fibroids that many women consider. It is a procedure performed by radiologists who insert a small catheter into the large vessel in the groin, and then they find and block with plastic particles the vessels that feed the fibroids. Women who want to become pregnant should know: UFE has limitations and may have long-term effects on fertility.
UFE is a good approach to control bleeding, but in younger patients the long-term control of fibroids is very limited. Additional fibroids can grow or the fibroid that was embolized can reestablish blood supply. We highly recommend to women who are told they can get embolized and still want babies, to reconsider the approach because it can affect implantation of the embryo into the lining of the uterus, where the baby grows. With fibroid treatment, it’s important to preserve the blood supply and it’s also important to preserve the lining of the uterus.
According to UpToDate®, the premier evidence-based clinical decision support resource, there is an adverse effect on women who have become pregnant after having UFE:
“A systematic review and several case series of pregnancies following UFE or UAE have reported adverse outcomes including miscarriage, preterm delivery, placental problems, and malpresentation.”
Safe fibroid removal, that does not affect fertility, can be achieved with laparoscopic myomectomy using the LAAM technique. This approach was developed by CIGC surgeons Paul MacKoul MD and Natalya Danilyants MD and it takes the best elements of both laparoscopic and open approaches for myomectomy. It is safer than open or robotic procedures, and more effective than UFE at preserving the uterus for fertility. With 2 small incisions, one 5MM incision at the belly button and a 1.5 inch incision at the bikini line, fibroids of any size, number or location can be removed.
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If you would like to get a GYN evaluation for your fibroid symptoms, call 888-SURGERY or contact us online. CIGC has offices in Bethesda, MD, Annapolis, MD and Reston, VA. Patients who reside outside the Washington DC area travel to CIGC through our travel program.
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