South Florida Vascular Associates South Florida Vascular Associates

Monday, January 27, 2014

Hysterectomy or Uterine Artery Embolization?

One-third of American women experience some type of pelvic health disorder by the time they're 60. And about 600,000 women every year have a hysterectomy, a surgical procedure to remove the uterus and its troubling symptoms. Overall, an estimated 20 million women have had a hysterectomy.

Do you know if you have painful periods with excessive bleeding, fibroids, endometriosis, or other pelvic health problems, there are alternatives to hysterectomy?

Fibroid tumors, usually benign, are typically found on the smooth muscles of the uterus, and can cause pelvic pain, infertility, and heavy menstrual bleeding. Uterine fibroids are a major reason why women have hysterectomies, accounting for between 177,000 and 366,000 of the annual total.

At South Florida Vascular Associates we offer a procedure, Uterine artery embolization (UAE) which is a minimally invasive procedure done in our in-office operating suites that offer an alternative to traditional surgical removal (hysterectomy) of uterine fibroids. Instead of removing the uterus, the UAE technique shrinks fibroids by blocking off their blood supply. The blood supply is blocked by injecting very small particles through an image- guided catheter into the arteries that supply the fibroids. The particles stick to the vessel wall and cause a clot to develop, blocking off the blood supply. Once the blood supply is gone, the fibroids shrink and symptoms usually decrease or disappear.

 In many cases, a patient can have the UAE technique which is an outpatient procedure as opposed to a hysterectomy. UAE is minimally invasive, the recovery is much easier, less painful and no need for hospitalization. If you have been told that you need a hysterectomy, before undergoing the knife, contact our office for a consultation by one of our board certified interventional radiologists, Dr. William Julien, Dr. Warren Swee, or Dr. Curtis Anderson to evaluate your symptoms and medical history  and determine whether you are a candidate for UAE. We have 3 convenient locations Coconut Creek, Boynton Beach and Plantation.

You may be a candidate for uterine artery embolization if you experience these symptoms:
•    Anemia (low blood count) from the excessive uterine bleeding
•    Abdominal/pelvic fullness or pain
•    An enlarged uterus
•    Abnormally enlarged abdominal size
•    Infertility
•    Bladder pressure leading to a constant urge to urinate
•    Pressure on the bowel, leading to constipation and bloating
•    Pain during sexual intercourse
•    Pain in the back or legs as the fibroids press on nerves that supply the pelvis and legs