Uterine Fibroid Embolization confers additional benefits in addition to qualifying fibroid symptoms. UFE is a minimally invasive treatment option now available in Pakistan.
Researchers have estimated that 70-80% of women of reproductive age are affected by uterine fibroids by the time they reach their 50s. With this being one of the most common female gynecological ailments, one would assume people would be more knowledgeable about the topic. Sadly, that is not the case; there are many women around the world who suffer in silence with fibroids as it slowly gnaws at them, or they are simply unaware of their condition and its treatment options.
A Quick Overview of Fibroids
Leiomyomas, otherwise more commonly known as uterine fibroids, are benign growths of uterine muscles. Being the most prevalent reproductive tumors, chances of its incidence increase as women age. Depending on the lifestyle, environment and genetics of the suffering individual, the size of the tumor and its growth rate varies greatly. Where some women do not experience any symptoms, while others have to go through bothersome symptoms that affect their daily activities and quality of life.
Symptoms That You Should Look Out For
With fibroids, every woman’s experience is different. Keep a watchful eye on yourself and consult a healthcare professional at earliest if you think you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms:
Abdominal discomfort, pelvic pain, or pressure
Bloating in the lower abdomen
Inconsistent or heavy menstrual bleeding
Menstrual bleeding extending a week’s period
Excessive fatigue and weakness
If you’re amongst those women whose life has been disturbed and wish to preserve their uterus, then worry not, there are numerous therapeutic options in the market for its treatment. Traditionally, invasive surgical options like myomectomy and hysterectomy have been of primary choice for the management of symptomatic fibroids which involve surgical removal of the fibroid itself and removal of the whole uterus, respectively.
However, in today’s date, minimally invasive outpatient alternatives like uterine artery or fibroid embolization procedures are also available for the patients.
Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE)
Uterine fibroid embolization is a low-risk, minimally invasive outpatient procedure performed by an interventional radiologist. UFE is unique in its essence that it shrinks fibroids of various sizes at different locations, whether inside or outside the uterus. The procedure is performed while the patient is under local anesthesia. It involves temporary occlusion of the arteries supplying blood to the uterus by injecting biocompatible particles, which are engineered /programmed to block blood supply only to fibroids while sparing the normal uterine walls, into the blood stream through a catheter at the wrist or groin area, ultimately blocking uterine blood supply to the fibroids. The procedure uses specialized X-ray equipment for real-time tracking of the particles. The forestalling leads to the ischemic infarction of the arteries that were supplying blood to the fibroids. The treatment promises patient compliance and high success rate by coalescing it with other procedures besides UFE. Pain management via intra-arterial infusion of specialized medication and post embolization syndrome management are these critical aspects of the treatment, ensuring an overall success and comfort of the patient. The whole treatment usually takes about an hour. After a few hours of medical surveillance, the patient may go home and resume light daily activities.
There is a high chance that you might experience abdominal pain or pelvic cramps for several days after your UFE surgery, accompanied by low-grade fever. However, it will clear up in a few days, and you’ll be good as new to start afresh again.
Uterine Fibroid Embolization is now available in Pakistan for the first time since 2017, as a 3-D precision guided endovascular treatment in two of its major cities; Karachi and Lahore by Dr. Imtiaz Ahmad, who is a renowned interventional radiologist and endovascular surgical specialist. As a part of post-treatment practice, the patient can expect a follow-up up to 6 months. There are numerous success stories of patients that underwent UFE procedures performed by Dr Imtiaz Ahmed, which speaks for his expertise in this area.
Effects After UFE
After it was first performed in the 1990s, the technique has since advanced and has become a procedure of choice for many women owing to its non-invasive nature. It has a substantially good success rate in treating fibroid.
Following are few positive effects that you may experience after uterine fibroid embolization.
Low Recurrence Rate
Uterine fibroid embolization has success rate of 99% with considerably lower recurrence rate compared to other surgical interventions available.
Post Procedure Weight-Loss
Although weight gain isn’t usually listed amongst the common symptoms of fibroid. However, often times, fibroid can cause weight gain in the abdomen when they grow large. Uterine fibroid can weigh up to several pounds that may even compress other organs. Undergoing UFE can help you shed those extra pounds as the fibroid shrinks after the procedure and there is substantial reduction in abdominal bloating.
Approximately 90% of the women that underwent uterine fibroid embolization have experienced either complete or significant relief from fibroid related symptoms. In the context of UFE procedure, even post-surgery discomfort is reduced to a minimum. Overall, a quick recovery and UFE success helps improve the quality of life in all the ways fibroid were affecting it.
No Hormonal Disturbances
Hormonal therapies for uterine fibroid usually disturb the normal hormonal balance of the body. UFE overrules this possibility, which leads to downstream of side effects that inevitably affect every-day social interactions as well as activities.
It is crucial to understand that surgery alone cannot promise overarching benefits and complete success unless it is backed by a healthy lifestyle. It is never too late to start living to the fullest.