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JOURNAL: Society of Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiology
AUTHORS: James Spies
ABSTRACT: Using tiny spheres to block the blood supply of uterine fibroids may be a possible alternate to hysterectomy, a surgical removal of the uterus, new study findings suggest.
COMMENTARY: Uterine fibroids can cause excessive menstrual bleeding, pelvic pain and frequent urination. The tumors occur in about 25% of all women and are the leading cause of hysterectomy in the US. African-American women are at even higher risk for pain and infertility from the growths.
In a procedure called uterine fibroid embolization (UFE), particles are used to block the blood supply of fibroids, shrinking the benign tumors.
The data suggests that women can get relief from fibroids without having to undergo major surgery. It is not recommended for women who are considering pregnancy within a year or two of the procedure.
In a separate study, a Georgetown researcher reviewed medical records and determined that the cost for UFE was slightly less than open surgery to remove fibroids. Including imaging, hospital and physician fees, UFE cost about $6,713 on average, compared with $8,204 for surgery.