For some women who suffer from uterine fibroids, undergoing a hysterectomy or myomectomy is medically necessary to help them lead a pain-free life. But a concern patients have with any surgical procedure is the threat of facing problems in the operating room. This can include everything from excessive blood loss to the size or location of the fibroids themselves complicating matters. Both patients and doctors want a seamless fibroid surgery. In many of these cases, gynecologists recommend Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) as a pre-surgical option. But how does a procedure like UFE help prepare you for a hysterectomy or myomectomy?
As a woman already dealing with life-interrupting fibroids, we know you have questions regarding any fibroid treatment option you might choose. Here is information to consider if your doctor has recommended UFE in advance of fibroid surgery.
Interesting Facts About UFE as a Pre-Surgical Option
Hysterectomies and myomectomies are among the recommended fibroid surgery options for women with painful and symptomatic uterine fibroids. More than 600,000 hysterectomies and 30,000 myomectomies are performed in the United States annually. A hysterectomy removes all or part of a woman’s uterus and, in some cases, the fallopian tubes and ovaries. Though myomectomy and hysterectomy surgeries are similar, a myomectomy is meant to remove only the symptom-causing fibroids to preserve the uterus. Depending on how many fibroids need to be removed, your doctor will surgically reconstruct the uterus to ensure its viability long term.
In each case, both are intended to relieve you of a variety of fibroid symptoms, including:
- Heavy menstrual bleeding or clotting
- Bladder problems
- Pelvic pain or pressure
- Urinary frequency
- Periods that last longer than a week
- Back or leg pain
- Pain during sexual intercourse
Regardless of which fibroid surgery option you and your doctor settle on, both are invasive and bloody operations that can require blood transfusions to achieve a successful outcome. Research is limited on exactly how much blood is lost during these surgeries, but a few sources, including Brigham and Women’s Hospital, state that the average blood loss during a vaginal and laparoscopic hysterectomy is roughly 50-100 mL. These are the stats for a typical uterus, not a uterus full of fibroids.
For patients with fibroids, not all hysterectomies or myomectomies can be performed laparoscopically due to the size of the fibroids and uterus. Research shows the average blood loss for a laparoscopic myomectomy is 80-250 mL and for an open myomectomy it ranges from 200-800 mL. In layman’s terms, this is equal to the amount of blood lost during three normal menstrual cycles. That’s quite a lot of blood. (References at the end of this article.)
Compounding this issue are the uterine fibroids themselves, which rely on a healthy blood supply to grow. As a result, you could be facing a more technically challenging and bloody surgery if you have multiple large fibroids in and around the uterus or have had other fibroid surgeries resulting in scar tissue. Complications that can arise from such a challenging case include:
- An injury to the bowel or bladder
- Blood clots (deep vein thrombosis)
How Does UFE Help Prepare You for Fibroid Surgery?
More and more doctors today refer their patients to UFE prior to performing a hysterectomy or myomectomy. With a UFE procedure completed before a hysterectomy or myomectomy, blood flow to the fibroids is blocked.
Here’s how it works: The experienced interventional radiologists at Fibroid Institute Dallas, Dr. Suzanne Slonim and Dr. Uma Reddy, insert a small catheter into the radial artery at the wrist. They use X-ray guidance to locate the vessels that supply blood to your fibroids. They then inject small particles into the vessels, blocking the blood flow to fibroids, causing fibroids to shrink and die.
With fibroids no longer creating added chaos for the impending surgery, you receive a better outcome with fewer complications. On top of that, rather than there being a hospital stay, UFE is an outpatient treatment:
- Same day procedure
- Can be performed under anesthesia
- Treats all fibroids at once
- No incision or vaginal access
- Requires only a tiny wrist puncture
Depending on your situation, a hysterectomy or myomectomy may be the best course of action to help relieve symptoms and pain related to your fibroids. With that said, a study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology states that as many as 1 in 5 women in the United States whose doctor recommended a hysterectomy didn’t need one and that 37.7% of women included in the study didn’t undergo alternative treatment prior to surgery.
At Fibroid Institute Dallas, we believe educating women helps them know their options so that they can make informed decisions about their healthcare. This is especially true when it comes to fibroids, which continue to be a woefully misunderstood and underfunded condition for women all over the world.
Get a FREE Phone Screening with Fibroid Institute Dallas
Fibroid Institute Dallas is your go-to source for educating patients about uterine fibroids and minimally invasive procedures such as Uterine Fibroid Embolization. Even if a hysterectomy or myomectomy is the best course of action for your unique situation, UFE used as a pre-surgical procedure can make your fibroid surgery experience seamless and successful. Dr. Suzanne Slonim and Dr. Uma Reddy at Fibroid Institute Dallas are the interventional radiology fibroid experts you’ll want in your corner.
Most major medical insurance providers cover the cost of UFE. Thousands of women have had their fibroids symptoms treated with UFE. Request a free 10-15 minute phone screening to determine if you are eligible. After the screening, if you qualify for UFE, you can schedule your onsite or telehealth consultation.
State-of-the-art equipment at our Fibroid Institute Dallas North office offers availability of onsite ultrasound and MRI imaging, allowing for a much more efficient evaluation of each patient’s candidacy for UFE. Depending on insurance, a patient can have her MRI and be seen immediately afterward, even possibly get scheduled during the same visit for her UFE.
At Fibroid Institute Dallas, we are dedicated to helping you become #FibroidFree. Get started now by calling 214-838-6440 or completing the form below.
Additional reference articles
- This article states “The average blood loss during a vaginal and a laparoscopic hysterectomy is probably about 50-100 ml, which is equal to the amount of blood lost during three normal menstrual cycles. The average blood loss during abdominal hysterectomy is usually a little more than that (200ml).” https://www.google.com/search?q=average+blood+loss+during+hysterectomy+50-100+mL&ei=jX3gYcrlFJexqtsP67iTsAU&ved=0ahUKEwiK4Jeeu6_1AhWXmGoFHWvcBFYQ4dUDCA4&uact=5&oq=average+blood+loss+during+hysterectomy+50-100+mL&gs_lcp=Cgdnd3Mtd2l6EAMyBQgAEM0CMgUIABDNAjIFCAAQzQI6BwgAEEcQsAM6CggAEEcQsAMQyQNKBAhBGABKBAhGGABQhwlYhwlg3g1oAXAAeACAAUWIAUWSAQExmAEAoAEByAEIwAEB&sclient=gws-wiz
- This article states “..the average volume of blood loss during abdominal myomectomy (performed via laparotomy, also referred to as open myomectomy) is 200 to 800 mL [2-4] and for laparoscopic myomectomy is 80 to 250 mL [5,6]” https://www.uptodate.com/contents/techniques-to-reduce-blood-loss-during-abdominal-or-laparoscopic-myomectomy
- Although this study was about whether misoprostol helped in reducing blood loss, it was in the Journal of Gynecologic Surgery in Oct 2021and says, “Average operative blood loss in abdominal hysterectomy—the most common gynecologic surgery—ranges 300–400 mL.” https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/gyn.2020.0138?journalCode=gyn
Fibroid Institute Dallas serves the DFW area including Highland Park, University Park, Park Cities, Garland, Mesquite, Richardson, Dallas, Addison, Carrollton, Plano, Frisco, McKinney, Allen, Fort Worth, Grand Prairie, HEB, Arlington, Hutchins, Irving, Duncanville, DeSoto, Cedar Hill, Lancaster, Cockrell Hill, and all of North Texas.
This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Prior to starting any new treatment or if you have questions regarding a medical condition, always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health provider.