NYM Offers Minimally Invasive Treatment for Uterine Fibroids

Apr 22, 2009

Photo of Dr. Leonard Berliner

Leonard Berliner, MD, chief of interventional radiology at NYM

Uterine fibroids (also called myomas or leiomyomas) are benign growths in or on the walls of the uterus that often appear during a woman's childbearing years. They are usually discovered incidentally during a pelvic examination or prenatal ultrasound exam. Uterine fibroids seldom require treatment because they rarely cause any symptoms. However, some women with uterine fibroids may experience heavy menstrual bleeding, pelvic pressure or pain, frequent urination or constipation.

For women with discomfort or troublesome symptoms associated with uterine fibroids, there are multiple surgical procedures and medical therapies available to remove or shrink them. Women should consult their gynecologists to determine the best course of action. For some women, the only definitive surgical treatment may be hysterectomy (the removal of the uterus). However, hysterectomy a major surgical procedure and it ends a woman's ability to have children. Women who are still considering bearing children may elect to have a myomectomy, where only the fibroids are surgically removed, leaving the uterus in place.

Another possible treatment option to alleviate the symptoms caused by uterine fibroids is uterine fibroid embolization (UFE), a minimally invasive procedure performed at New York Methodist Hospital (NYM). UFE is a non-surgical procedure that works by decreasing the blood supply to the fibroids, causing them to shrink. During the procedure, a thin tube is inserted into a small incision at the top of the leg and guided by x-ray imaging to the uterine artery where small particles are injected to block the blood flow to the fibroids. The procedure takes about an hour to complete, with a one-week recovery period. After UFE, symptoms can be expected to decrease considerably by the next menstrual cycle.

UFE is the least invasive of all the minimally invasive procedures that treat uterine fibroids, said Leonard Berliner, MD, chief of interventional radiology at NYM, who performs the procedure. For more information regarding uterine fibroid embolization at New York Methodist Hospital, please call 718 780-5825.