Minimally Invasive FDA Approved Treatment for Uterine Fibroids
What are Uterine Fibroids?
Uterine fibroids are relatively common, non-cancerous growths that form on the uterus. Many patients may be completely unaware that they have fibroids whereas others can have significant symptoms including pelvic pain, heavy menstrual bleeding and urinary frequency.
How are Uterine Fibroids treated?
Traditionally, uterine fibroids have been managed surgically, either with complete removal of the uterus (hysterectomy) or surgical removal of the fibroids themselves (myomectomy). Surgery typically requires general anesthesia and a hospital stay and in many cases, leaves the patient unable to have children in the future.
Another safer and far less invasive option called Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) may be right for you.
What is Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE)
Uterine fibroid embolization is a minimally invasive procedure which can be safely performed in the outpatient setting with minimal “twilight” sedation. The procedure is performed through a tiny nick in the skin through which a small catheter is inserted into the arteries that feed the uterine fibroids. The arteries are then closed using tiny beads that are injected through the catheter. Cutting off the blood supply to the fibroid tumors causes them to shrink and die without the need for surgery.
At APEX, we have experienced physicians who can perform the UFE procedure in a safe and comfortable outpatient setting. The procedure takes about an hour and in most cases, patients go home the same day without the need for a hospital stay.
90% of women experience significant or complete resolution of their pain and bleeding, often times before their next menstrual cycle.
Chronic Pelvic Pain/Pelvic Congestion Syndrome
What are the causes of pelvic pain?
There are many possible causes of chronic pelvic pain including endometriosis, uterine fibroid disease, ovarian cysts and masses, as well as problems with other pelvic organs including the urinary bladder and bowel.
Vascular causes of recurrent pelvic pain are often not considered and significantly under diagnosed. Commonly lumped under the collective term “pelvic congestion syndrome”, abnormalities of the veins in the pelvis can lead to ineffective clearance and back flow of blood in the vessels. This can be due to compression of the veins by surrounding structures, abnormal enlargement of the veins, and faulty valves within the veins which allow the blood to flow in the reverse direction.
(hidden) Endovenous laser therapy (EVLT):
EVLT is a minimally invasive procedure in which a small laser is used to close abnormal veins in the legs. The procedure is performed through a tiny nick in the skin and can be performed with or without minimal “twilight” sedation.
Symptoms and Diagnosis of Pelvic Vein Abnormalities
Pelvic vein abnormalities can be associated with a variety of chronic and recurrent symptoms including
- Pelvic pain and pressure, worse with standing
- Pain following intercourse
- Pelvic pain and pressure associated with menstrual periods
- Urinary frequency
- Low back pain
- Leg pain and swelling
- Varicose veins of the thighs and vulva
Diagnosis begins with a clinic consultation and physical exam. Further imaging studies may be necessary including US, CT and/or MRI.
How are Pelvic Vein Abnormalities Treated?
If it is determined that your pelvic pain is due to a vein abnormality, there are a number of safe, minimally invasive treatment options depending upon the actual cause of the problem. The procedures are designed to redirect blood flow out of the pelvis either by opening veins that are blocked or closing abnormal veins that are allowing blood to pool in the pelvis.
The procedures are performed in our state-of-the-art facility using the most cutting edge, minimally invasive techniques available. The procedures typically require only minimal “twilight” sedation and are performed thorough a tiny nick in the skin. This means that there is minimal or no recovery which allows you to get back to your life more quickly.