What are uterine fibroids?

Uterine fibroids (also referred to as myoma, leiomyoma, leiomyomata, and fibromyoma) are benign (non-cancerous) tumours that grow within the muscle tissue of the uterus. Between 20-50% of women of childbearing age have uterine fibroids. While many women do not experience any problems, symptoms can be severe enough to require treatment.

Fibroids range in size from very small (coin sized) to larger than a melon. A very large uterine fibroid can cause the uterus to expand to the size of a six or seven-month pregnancy. There can either be one dominant fibroid or a cluster of many small fibroids.

There are many treatment options including MR Guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) which destroy fibroids without incisions.

What are the key symptoms of uterine fibroids?

  • Heavy and prolonged periods
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Lower back or leg pain
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Need for frequent urination caused by bladder pressure
  • Feeling of fullness in the lower abdomen

What are the treatment options for uterine fibroids?

MR guided Focused Ultrasound Surgery (MRgFUS) - ExAblateNon-invasive, outpatient treatment to for uterine fibroids.
HysterectomySurgical removal of the uterus. Expect a hospital stay and a recovery period.
Abdominal myomectomyRemoval of one or more of the fibroids with open abdominal surgery.
Laparoscopic or hysteroscopic myomectomyOne or more of the fibroids are removed using laparoscopic or endoscopic techniques.
Laparoscopic Assisted Vaginal Myomectomy (LAVM)LAVM combines laparoscopic myomectomy with a vaginal incision for fibroid removal.
Laparoscopic Myomectomy with Mini-LaparotomyLaparoscopic Myomectomy with Mini-Laparotomy allows for the removal of slightly larger fibroids than what the laparoscope alone can handle and generally includes a relatively small incision of 3 inches or less in the abdomen.
Robot-Assisted Myomectomy or Robotic MyomectomyA minimally invasive procedure that uses laparoscopic myomectomy through small: "keyhole" incisions and reduces patient's recovery time.
Hormone therapyGnRH drug treatment causes fibroid shrinkage. Used as a temporary or transition therapy.
Uterine artery embolizationThe uterine artery is injected with polyvinyl alcohol beads, with a catheter which is inserted into the femoral artery. The injected beads block the flow of blood to the fibroids and cause necrosis.
Watchful waitingNo treatment. Monitoring for any progression of symptoms.
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