Archive for the ‘ Patient Questions ’ Category

Fibroids Post-Embolization

Ever wondered what happens to your fibroids after the UFE procedure? Read on to find out what happens to these myomas and which types may put you at greater risk for post-complications.

What happens to fibroids when they are embolized? Do they merely shrink, or do they “fall off” in some way?

After losing their blood supply, fibroids lose their fluid content and they are removed by the body. In time they undergo a process of fibrosis, and lose their ability to grow again. The overall effect is that the fibroid shrinks but does not become detached and “fall off”. However, in some cases, when treating pedunculated fibroids ( fibroids that are stalked from the uterus) there is a possibility that they can eventually “fall off” into the pelvis and cause some complications. Embolizing a pedunculated fibroid may disrupt the stalk, thereby releasing the fibroid into either the subserosal or submucosal cavity.

Disrupting the stalk of a pedunculated subserosal fibroid can result in the fibroid’s release. This development can potentially cause chemical peritonitis (inflammation of the membrane that lines the abdomen), leading to prolonged pain after embolization. This risk of stalk disruption has led some interventional radiologiests (IRs) to evaluate the width of the fibroid’s attachment to the uterus before considering a patient as a UFE candidate. Recommendations have varied, but a stalk width greater than one-third to one-half the diameter of the fibroid is considered acceptable to most IRs. These recommendations are based on the idea that safety increases directly with the width of the stalk. At the present time, however, no studies have been performed to back these criteria.

When submucosal pedunculated fibroids lose their attachment to the uterus, they are at increased risk for expulsion from the uterus. Although expulsion is usually not associated with clinically significant complications, uterine obstruction can occur if the fibroid does not completely pass through the cervix. In this case, other procedures may be required to remove retained tissue, which may otherwise become secondarily infected leading to other secondary complications of the uterus.

Learn more about Uterine Fibroid Embolization online, or contact us directly by calling (866) 479-1523 or by requesting a free phone consultation.


Fibroids in the Ovaries

Read here to learn more about fibroids in the ovaries and other parts of the uterus and whether UFE is an effective form of treatment.

I have heard that there can be fibroids in the ovaries. Can these be treated by UFE?

No. The blood vessels to these ligaments and the ovaries are different from the ones which supply the uterus. Hence uterine artery embolization will not reach these tissues. Additionally, attempting to embolize these blood vessels that lead to the ovaries can most certainly cause infertility.

At any rate, UFE can treat other types of fibroids, such as intramural, submucosal, and subserosal fibroids. Intramural fibroids are in the wall of the uterus, and can range in size from mucroscopic to larger than a grapefruit.  Many of these do not cause problems unless they become quite large.  There are a number of alternatives for treating these types of fibroids, but often they do not need any treatment at all. Submucous fibroids are partially in the cavity and partually in the wall of the uterus.  They too can cause heavy mentrual bleeding,  often refrered to as menorrhagia, as well as bleeding between periods. Lastly, subserous fibroids are on the outside wall of the uterus.

Most fibroids can be successfully treated by using fibroid embolizaton. Moderate to large perdunculated fibroids (those that hang from the uterus by a stalk) are the only type of fibroids that are generally not treated with UFE alone. This is due to the fact that there is a small chance of the stalk breaking after the fibroid loses its blood supply, which may eventually cause the fibroid to call into the pelvis and cause additional problems.  Patients with these types of fibroids can be considered as a candidate for joint procedures using a combination of UFE and laparoscopic myomectomy.

Learn more about Uterine Fibroid Embolization online, or contact us directly by calling (866) 479-1523 or by requesting a free phone consultation.


When to Treat Fibroids Before Pregnancy

It is never too early or late to treat your fibroids! Find out why it is important to take that step, particularly if you plan on having children.

In a young non-pregnant patient who has a fibroid the size of a 12 week pregnancy, is it necessary to treat the fibroids with embolization before becoming pregnant?

This decision is ultimately a personal choice.  However, in some cases, if your gynecologist believes that the location of the fibroid might be a problem that can affect your ability to become pregnant or during a pregnancy, he or she may suggest that you look into fibroid treatment alternatives.  Some fibroids can become an issue by way of blocking  the birth canal or can be located  in the cavity of the uterus and may cause a miscarriage. If this is the case, your gynecologist may advise you to take steps to treat the fibroid ahead of time so as to avoid any unnecessary and preventable health issues.

Looking to embolization as a way to treat fibroids may be optimal for many women, like you, that don’t want to go through the complications of surgery and strive to look for a less invasive approach.    Up to date, there is no history to suggest that embolization would interfere with a later pregnancy. However, even though about 1% of patients may lose their periods after embolization, a similar number could develop infertility from adhesions as the result of a surgical myomectomy or complications of other surgical procedures.  Therefore, the risks associated with treating fibroids with any procedure are always a trade-off.

It is never too late or early to treat your fibroid issue. Let us help you in your journey to explore treatment options, give us a call at 866-362-6463.  By calling this number, you can request to have an in-office consultation with Dr. McLucas, or you can opt to engage in a FREE phone consultation in which he can give you a general assessment of your individual situation and offer you some valuable medical suggestions. Either way, we are here to help!

Have a comment or question about this post? Scroll down to post a comment to this blog or Click here to ask your question.


Role of Gynecologist & Radiologist in Fibroid Treatment

To ensure optimal care, both gynecologists and interventional radiologists must be integrated into the care of UFE patients. Learn more about how this relationship works by reading on.

What kind of relationship does the radiologist and the gynecologist have during the process of Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) and what are each of their responsibilities when treating me?

In order for the patient to experience optimal care, it is imperative for both the Interventional Radiologist (IR) and the Gynecologist (Gyn) to take a team approach. Both parties must be an integral part of the team to ensure the best care. There are times in which a patient may have combined problems, needing both UFE and a laparoscopic removal or some other gynecological procedure.  In these cases it is vital for both key players to be comfortable with offering a wide variety of procedures and be ready to provide optimal care.

By combining the resources offered by both the IR and the Gyn, it allows both physicians to evaluate, treat, and help all women with fibroids, regardless of their individual health situations.

Both types of physicians have an important role in the care patients with fibroids.  The Gyn is usually responsible for conducting a pelvic exam prior to the procedure and inspecting whether the patient is a viable candidate for UFE.  If so, the Gyn may then refer that patient to an IR capable of performing the procedure, assuming all alternatives were presented and the patient expressed a partiality for the UAE option.

To make certain that the patient is a quality candidate, a series of MRI’s and ultrasounds may be performed.  If all is well, from that point the IR plays an equally important role, if not more, in the primary care of the patient.  The IR not only performs the actual embolization, but he or she assumes the primary role of handling most post procedure care and any complications that arise.  Both the IR and Gyn must keep an open line of communication not only with one another, but with the patient as well, so as to ensure a successful UAE process.

Learn more about Uterine Fibroid Embolization online, or contact us directly by calling (866) 479-1523 or by requesting a free phone consultation.


Why Didn’t My Doctor Tell Me About UFE?

Several women that have learned about the benefits of UFE wonder why their gynecologists can sometimes be reluctant to offer the procedures as an alternative.

Why didn’t my gynecologist refer tell me about Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE)? The only option he gave me was a hysterectomy or a myomectomy to treat my fibroids.

This question is quite complex, however there may be some contributing factors as to why your gynecologist may not offer UFE as an alternative.

First, traditional training for gynecologists yields that hysterectomy is offered as the “primary” treatment for women who don’t want more children. Due to the idea that fibroids can recur after myomectomy and sometimes embolization, many gynecologists want to avoid the possibility of more unnecessary surgery.  However, this thought is unjust in that it disregards the idea that many women, although they may not have plans to continue or begin child-bearing, DO NOT want to part with their uterus.

Additionally, in some case, there is a disconnect between the two parties needed to carry out the procedure- the interventional radiologist and the gynecologist.  Some gynecologists may lack an overall appreciation of the features and potential of UFE and may perceive it as a radiological alternative that can potentially threaten their own patient base.  Moreover, gynecologists may lack the skills necessary to offer such minimally invasive alternatives and for this reason they may direct their patients toward alternatives that include open procedures in which they might be more content performing.

Lastly, some gynecologists simply are uninterested in participating in the care of UFE patients or only offer it to patients that they believe are a possible candidate.  Many gynecologists, however, fall somewhere in the middle of these reasons, but there is no real way to know why UFE is sometimes not referred as an option.

Learn more about Uterine Fibroid Embolization online, or contact us directly by calling (866) 479-1523 or by requesting a free phone consultation.


Can Benign Fibroids Become Malignant?

Ever wondered if your fibroids were capable of becoming malignant? Read on to learn more about fibroids and whether you should bother to worry if your fibroids are malignant.

I have heard that fibroids are benign, but are they ever capable of becoming malignant?

Fibroids cannot become malignant. A fibroid is benign by definition and will always remain that way.  Although fibroids do have the potential to cause problems if they grow especially large, most women manage to live with their fibroids fairly well and never have any trouble with them. In fact, many women—even some who have really large fibroids— aren’t even aware they have them.

On the other hand, a leiomyosarcoma is a uterine tumor which is a very rare cancer. Only 1-2% of women ever experience leiomyosarcoma. Some mistake this tumor for the fibroid itself and think that  the fibroids have the ability to turn into this kind of tumor; however, this is not true. They arise separately from an existing fibroid.

Unfortunately, it is impossible to tell a benign fibroid from a malignant tumor without surgery. Imaging tests, such as ultrasound or MRI, cannot reliably distinguish these tumors. Additionally, blood tests are incapable of detecting them as well. By history, they are often suspected when a presumed fibroid grows very rapidly. However, the majority of rapidly growing fibroids are, just that, benign fibroids

Learn more about Uterine Fibroid Embolization online, or contact us directly by calling (866) 479-1523 or by requesting a free phone consultation.


Are There Natural Treatments for Fibroids?

Learn whether natural treatments are available and successful in treatment fibroid tumors in woman.

I have fibroids and I don’t want to have any type of procedure done on me.  Is it possible for me to take a more natural treatment route?

Physicians are starting to evaluate ways to treat fibroid tumors without surgery. Uterine Fibroid Embolization is one of the leading methods of fibroid removal with out having to “go under the knife”.  The procedure is effective, the results are great and best of all – you’re not stuck with a 6 to 8 week recovery! Patients that undergo UAE are often very satisfied with the fact that they have little side effects related to the treatment and they can be back to their daily routine in as little as 5 to 7 days.

However, you stated that you are looking for a ‘natural’  treatment for fibroids.  To date, there is no research that supports the idea that natural methods of treatment work to reduce or eradicate fibroids. Yet, several scientific studies are underway to test a new drug treatment that shrinks fibroids. The drug is called Lupron and is  a synthetic form of the naturally occurring substance known as gonadotropin-releasing hormone (also called GnRH). Drawbacks of this drug include the fact that is has to be taken regularly and women may have to inject themselves. Furthermore, once treatment stops, the tumors grow back rapidly. At any rate, studies of the drug’s side effects and long-term consequences are still continuing.

At the Fibroid Treatment Collective, we understand that dealing with fibroids can be an emotionally and physically draining process.  Give us a call at 866-362-6463 or request a free phone consultation so that we can provide you with useful resources regarding fibroid treatment alternatives.  FTC is dedicated to helping you make positive choices for your health, so give us a call today!

Have a comment or question about this post? Scroll down to post a comment to this blog or Click here to ask your question.


Do Fibroids Automatically Shrink After UFE?

Had the procedure and wondering what the time line is for a decreased size in fibroids? Read here to find out more about post-embo and your shrinking fibroids.

After I get the Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) procedure done, will the fibroids shrink automatically?

After the procedure, the embolized fibroid immediately loses its supply of oxygen, blood, and nutrients. Because of this, over the subsequent weeks and months, individual muscle cells in the fibroid die off and are replaced by scar tissue. This process, however occurs gradually, and is not an instantaneous occurrence. Because the individual cells die off one at a time, there is no large mass of dead tissue in the body.

Eventually, the fibroid is replaced by scar tissue. This scar tissue is about half as big as the original fibroid, or perhaps slightly smaller. Because scar tissue does not respond to hormonal stimulation as fibroids do, the normal menstrual cycle no longer causes growth and you can expect to experience lighter periods, less pain, and less pressure. Most women are able to witness lessened symptoms almost immediately.

You can expect to meet with your OB-GYN 1 week, 6 months, and year after the procedure so that he/she can track the progress of your fibroids. In most cases, women find that the procedure successfully decreased the size of their fibroids and they are able to experience a  life with out the burden of fibroid symptoms!

Learn more about how UFE may be able to improve your quality of life. Give us a call at (866) 479-1523 or contact us online.

Do Fibroids Automatically Shrink After UFE?

Identifying Uterine Fibroid Symptoms

Wondering if your symptoms are related to fibroids and want to know how to make sure? Read on to find out how.

I seem to be having some of the symptoms of fibroids, but I’m not sure if they are really fibroids.  How can I know for sure?

If you feel that you may have symptoms related to the presence of fibroids, visit your gynecologist (see Fibroid Symptoms).  A fibroid is usually discovered during a pelvic examination. Many times, however, fibroids are only discovered while a physician is looking for something else—or simply are not discovered at all. If you feel that your symptoms may be due to the fibroids, it would be a good idea to see your gynecologist and notify him or her of your concerns.

Ultrasound scanning enables physicians to distinguish these tumors. This diagnostic procedure can confirm the presence of fibroids when a woman has symptoms that raise suspicion of the tumors. However, because certain types of fibroids look similar to ovarian tumors, and the fibrous tissue can interfere with the sound waves, the ultrasound reading can be inaccurate.  In this case, physicians may sometimes suggest a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).  An MRI is a standard imaging technique for evaluating fibroids because it provides a clearer image than ultrasound and can detect other causes of pelvic pain and/or bleeding you may be experiencing.

If you feel that you are experiencing fibroid-related symptoms and would like to learn about what steps you can take to find out if the fibroid actually exists, please feel free to contact the Fibroid Treatment Collective at 866-362-6463 or request a free phone consultation.  We are always more than happy to provide you with useful resources and help you make positive choices for your health!

Have a comment or question about this post? Scroll down to post a comment to this blog or Click here to ask your question.


History of Uterine Artery Embolization

Find out about the history of Uterine Artery Embolization and how Dr. McLucas was instrumental in its initial use in the United States!

Are UAE and UFE the same thing? And how long has the procedure been around?

Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) and Uterine Artery Embolization (UAE) are two names for the same procedure and can be used interchangeably. Since the actual procedure entails the blocking or “embolization” of the uterine artery, UAE is probably a more appropriate term.

Embolization of the uterine artery has been used as a treatment for severe uterine bleeding during surgery or childbirth for some time. However, this procedure was initially used in fibroid patients as a method of decreasing the blood loss that occurs during myomectomy, but it was later discovered that after the embolization, many patient’s symptoms went away and surgery was no longer needed.

After making this stark discovering, UAE was then used as a treatment specifically for fibroids in France in the early 1990’s and Dr. Bruce McLucas was the first person to pioneer the use of this procedure for fibroid treatment in the United States in 1995.

For more information on fibroids or UAE, please give us a call at 866-296-9244 or request a free phone consultation.

Have a comment or question? Post a comment and we’ll reply.


Am I a candidate for non-surgical treatment?

Click here