women's health

Uterine Fibroids

Uterine fibroids are a common cause of heavy uterine bleeding and pain in reproductive-age women and the most prevalent benign gynecologic tumor. They are responsible for almost half of all hysterectomies performed annually in the United States. Traditionally, surgeons have treated fibroids through removal by open abdominal surgery—either by hysterectomy, in which the entire uterus is removed, or by myomectomy, in which case the uterus remains and only the fibroids are removed.

Our team offers a multidisciplinary approach to provide the latest and most advanced treatment options for uterine fibroids, including minimally invasive surgical techniques and non-invasive radiologic procedures. CHI St. Luke’s Health's highly experienced affiliated gynecologists are skilled surgeons who employ both open-incision surgical procedures as well as newer, more sophisticated laparoscopic and hysteroscopic procedures.

Uterine Fibroid Treatments

Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) is a non-surgical treatment alternative for symptoms caused by uterine fibroid tumors. Also known as uterine artery embolization, UFE has been performed successfully and safely in thousands and thousands of women worldwide. UFE has been shown to effectively control heavy menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia) as a result of uterine fibroids in 85 to 95 percent of patients undergoing this procedure. It has been shown to control bulk-related symptoms, including pelvic pressure, pelvic pain, frequent urination, constipation, and back pain in 80 to 95 percent of patients.

UFE also offers the following advantages:

  • Shorter recovery time - an average of one week

  • Shorter hospital stay - most patients are discharged the morning after the procedure

  • Less invasive procedure without surgical scars

  • No need for general anesthesia

  • Ability to treat almost all types of fibroids once

  • No evidence that the fibroids return once treated, unlike some surgical options

  • May preserve fertility in patients who desire future pregnancy

 

While many patients with fibroid tumors are candidates for embolization, a detailed medical evaluation must be performed to determine if this procedure is a treatment option available to you. CHI St. Luke’s Health’s Diagnostic and Therapeutic Radiology Department is home to the UFE clinic led by Dr. John Fischer. To date, he has performed thousands of minimally invasive, image-guided procedures and hundreds of embolization procedures, many of them for uterine fibroids.

UFE has been shown to be a safe and effective treatment option for the symptoms caused by uterine fibroid tumors in many women. Ask your doctor or contact us directly for more information.

High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound for Uterine Fibroids

High-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) is an advanced therapy using focused ultrasound technology to treat uterine fibroids by heating and destroying the tissue. CHI St. Luke’s Health is one of only three centers in the United States chosen for a Philips Healthcare-sponsored clinical trial of MRI-guided HIFU removal of uterine fibroids, which allows the surgeon to observe the ultrasound path during treatment and monitor the temperature increase in the fibroid tissue during the procedure.

This MRI technology provides greater focus of the ultrasound together with other advances that permit a physician to complete a procedure in approximately half the time required for current FDA-approved technology. With HIFU, a patient avoids surgery and an overnight hospital stay, typically has a quick recovery of only one to three days, does not require constant medication, and receives no radiation.