While uterine fibroids, noncancerous tumors that can grow in and around the uterus, are very common, there is a certain type of fibroid that affects fewer women, and can be harder to treat. Called an intracavitary fibroid, this is a noncancerous tumor that grows inside the uterine cavity. This type of fibroid can cause severe symptoms of fibroids, including heavy menstrual bleeding, fatigue, and even anemia.
Even worse, however, is the fact that some minimally invasive treatments for fibroids are not effective for this type of fibroid.2 That means that this type of fibroid is much harder to treat, and many patients with this intracavitary fibroids end up at a surgeon's office discussing a hysterectomy.
Good news for women suffering from intracavitary fibroids
Fortunately, there may be good news for women suffering from intracavitary fibroids who want to try to avoid a hysterectomy. A small study conducted at the University of California Irvine Medical Center has found that combining two approaches to the treatment of fibroids might be a way to deal with these rare tumors without resorting to a hysterectomy.2
The study examined the effect of using the minimally invasive uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) technique and hysteroscopic myomectomy together. In UFE, an interventional radiologist guides a catheter to the blood vessels supplying blood to the fibroid and blocks those vessels with small particles called embolics. Starved of their blood supply, the fibroids begin to shrink.
UFE has a up to 90% success rate in general, but has a higher complication rate when used on women who suffer from intracavitary fibroids.2,3 Hysteroscopic myomectomy, which involves surgically removing the fibroid through the vagina and cervix, can also be effective, but it depends on where the fibroids are and how large they are.2
The California study, however, looked at how these two procedures might work together to deal with intracavitary fibroids. It examined the effects of this treatment on 10 women who had been diagnosed with this type of fibroid.2 Each patient first received UFE treatment for her fibroids and then planned to receive a hysteroscopic myomectomy no more than 2 months afterward.
With the two treatments combined in this manner, the women experienced a 90 percent success rate.2 Not every patient required or chose a myomectomy. One woman, for example, passed a fibroid after receiving UFE treatment, and one patient’s symptoms were completely resolved by UFE.
Of the remaining patients, two patients received their surgery later than the 2 month period, and one chose a hysterectomy because she did not improve after receiving both the UFE treatment and the hysteroscopic myomectomy. The remaining five underwent the myomectomy.
For women who suffer from intracavitary fibroids, being able to pursue less drastic options than a hysterectomy might be a good choice. And for them, this study is a promising start in the search for treatments for fibroids that let them do just that.
VIVA EVE and UFE improvements
Women who have researched, advocated for themselves, informed others, and demanded changes in their care helped spearhead improvements in UFE. They’ve shown their desire for less invasive fibroid treatment procedures and no doubt the UFE improvements will continue.
The doctors at VIVA EVE have years of UFE experience with uterine fibroids as well as adenomyosis. We are provide high-quality, personalized care for each and every patient we see. We’ll partner with you to determine the best way to treat your problematic symptoms. Please click here or call 1-866-684-8238 to schedule an appointment with one of our fibroid experts.
- US Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health. (2016). How many people are affected by or at risk of uterine fibroids? Retrieved from HTTPS://WWW.NICHD.NIH.GOV/HEALTH/TOPICS/UTERINE/CONDITIONINFO/PEOPLE-AFFECTED
- Khalsa, B., Costantino, M., & Goodwin, S. (2017). Uterine artery embolization followed by elective myomectomy for the treatment of intracavitary fibroids: Preliminary experience. J Vasc Interv Radiol, Feb;28(2):S47.
- Spies, J. B. (2016). Current role of uterine artery embolization in the management of uterine fibroids. Clin Obstet Gynecol, Mar;59(1):93-102.