Fibroid tumors are noncancerous growths that develop in the muscular wall of the uterus. Fibroids do not always cause symptoms, although, their size and location can lead to problems such as pain and heavy bleeding.
Who is most likely to have these fibroids? Uterine fibroids are very common. Often they are small and do not cause significant problems. From 20 to 40 percent of women age 35 and older have uterine fibroids of a significant size. African American women have a higher risk for fibroids. Around 50 percent have uterine fibroids of a significant size.
It is a minimally invasive procedure, which means it requires only a tiny nick in the skin, less than a ¼ of an inch. Entry is gained into an artery near the groin (femoral artery). The procedure is performed when you are awake, yet sedated, drowsy and feeling no pain. The interventional radiologist will then insert a catheter which is guided through the artery to the uterus. As they perform this procedure, they will watch the progress using a moving X-ray (fluoroscopy). They will then inject tiny plastic particles, the size of grains of sand, into the artery that is supplying blood to the tumor. This in turn will cause the tumor to shrink, due to the lack of blood flow. It requires only 1 night of hospital stay and women are usually involved in light activity within a few days.
Studies show that up to 94 percent of women experience significant or total relief of pain, heavy bleeding and other symptoms. There are cases where patients may be able to avoid a hysterectomy procedure by having Uterine Fibroid Embolization.
Positron Emission Tomography (PET)