UFE is a safe and effective alternative to hysterectomy

Women have a hysterectomy alternative for uterine fibroid relief. 

Hysterectomies prevalent

In the past, uterine fibroids were more than just an intrusive and painful condition. They often led to the loss of fertility because the most common of the fibroid procedures was a hysterectomy, the surgical removal of the uterus.

In fact, of the more than 600,000 hysterectomies performed every year, a full 41 percent are used to treat uterine fibroids with another 10 percent used to treat a condition called adenomyosis.1,2 Women were being forced to choose between being able to maintain their uterus (and the possibility of having children) and alleviating symptoms.


Minimally-invasive alternative developed

But a procedure was developed using interventional radiology that revolutionized how fibroids and adenomyosis could be treated.  It has proved to be an safe and effective hysterectomy alternative:  uterine fibroid embolization (UFE). 

A UFE is a uterine fibroids treatment option that avoids not only the removal of the uterus but also traditional invasive surgery. Instead, the procedure uses interventional radiology to map out the arteries that lead to the fibroids. A small incision is made in the wrist or the groin, and a long, thin tube called a catheter is inserted into the closest artery. The interventional radiologist then guides the catheter to the arteries that supply blood to the fibroid and releases small particles called embolics into the arteries. These particles act as roadblocks that prevent blood flow to the fibroids. Eventually, the fibroids starve and die, reducing symptoms and bringing relief to the patient.

However, when UFE was first introduced as a way to reduce the symptoms of fibroids, there were questions about its effectiveness as compared to the more traditional hysterectomy.


Testing a hysterectomy alternative

And then came the EMMY Trial (EMbolization versus hysterectoMY).3 The first stage of the trial occurred in the early 2000s. In the ensuing time, the 10-plus-year results have allowed medical professionals to reach a clear conclusion. UFE  is a safe and effective alternative to hysterectomy as a fibroid treatment. 

What the EMMY Trial revealed was that, far from being an inferior approach, UFE allowed up to two-thirds of patients to avoid having a hysterectomy.


EMMY Trial details

The EMMY Trial directly compared the effectiveness of UFE to the effectiveness of a hysterectomy. Between 2002 and 2004, the study took 156 women in Dutch hospitals who were both suffering from uterine fibroids and eligible for a hysterectomy. They assigned 81 of the women to receive UFE and 75 to receive a hysterectomy.

From the beginning, results were promising. The women who received the UFE had lower rates of major complications than did those who had a hysterectomy. In addition, they had significantly shorter hospital stays. However, the long-term effects of the procedure were still unknown. Would patients enjoy symptom relief over the long term? Or would a hysterectomy eventually be required anyway?

A decade later, Dr. Annefleur M. de Bruijn, MD, and a team of researchers at the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam decided to find out.4  Using mailed questionnaires, the team evaluated a number of factors, such as quality of life and whether or not patients had needed additional treatment.


Results are in: UFE an effective hysterectomy alternative 

The survey indicated that women who had undergone a UFE enjoyed symptom-reduced quality of life long-term. The UFE results were close to the results of women who had undergone a hysterectomy. A full 78 percent of UFE patients reported being satisfied with their procedure (versus 87 percent of hysterectomy patients). This survey proves once again that UFE is a safe and effective alternative to hysterectomy.

The authors of the study also reached a clear conclusion:  UFE is a safe and effective alternative to hysterectomy.  Instead of being forced to choose between their fertility and their health, women can now have both.


VIVA EVE provides safe and effective UFE treatment

The doctors at VIVA EVE have years of experience performing the uterine fibroid embolization procedure to treat fibroids and adenomyosis. We provide high-quality, personalized care for each and every patient we see. We will 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.

VIVA EVE-branded medical practices are independently owned and operated by licensed physicians.  For more information about the relationship between Spectrafem, LLC and the branded medical practices, click here.


Sources for information referenced in this post

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016). Retrieved July 13, 2016, from Fact sheet: Hysterectomy in the United States, 2000–2004
  2. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2011). Retrieved July 13, 2016, from Choosing the Route of Hysterectomy for Benign Disease
  3. Hehenkamp, W., Volkers, N., Donderwinkel, P., de Blok, S., Birnie, E., Ankum, W., & Reekers, J. (2005). Uterine artery embolization versus hysterectomy in the treatment of symptomatic uterine fibroids (EMMY trial): Peri- and postprocedural results from a randomized controlled trial. American Journal of Obstetrics And Gynecology, 193(5): 1618-1629.
  4. de Bruijn, A., Ankum, W., Reekers, J., Birnie, E., van der Kooij, S., Volkers, N., & Hehenkamp, W. (2016). Uterine artery embolization vs hysterectomy in the treatment of symptomatic uterine fibroids: 10-year outcomes from the randomized EMMY trial. American Journal of Obstetrics And Gynecology. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2016.06.051