There are two important things that every woman should know about uterine fibroid treatments:
- There are many treatment options.
- By going to a center with the widest range of treatments, you help ensure that you will get the treatment that is right for you.
On this page, you can learn about the treatment options that we offer at the URMC Fibroid Center.
In some cases, uterine fibroids can be treated with medication. The medication may be in the form of a pill, or it may be contained in an IUD (intrauterine device). These medications typically work by lowering your level of estrogen or progesterone. Anti-inflammatory painkillers may also be prescribed for women who have occasional discomfort caused by fibroids.
In a myomectomy, the fibroids are removed from the uterus, but the uterus is left intact. This is an important consideration, especially for women who may want to become pregnant.
There are several different ways that our center can perform a myomectomy:
- Robotic myomectomy uses a surgical robot to perform precision surgery through four tiny incisions in the abdomen. A small camera gives the surgeon a 3-dimensional view of the uterus inside the pelvis/abdomen. Slender instruments are then used to remove the uterine fibroids. Patients typically go home the very same day. The minimally invasive nature of this surgery helps to reduce pain and speeds recovery. Laparoscopic myomectomy uses slender instruments and tiny instruments without the use of the robot.
- Hysteroscopic myomectomy. If the fibroids are totally contained in the uterine cavity or significantly encroach into the uterine cavity—a hysteroscopic myomectomy can be performed. Slender instruments are inserted through the vagina and cervix and into the uterus in order to remove the fibroids. As a result, no incision is required for this surgery.
- Mini laparotomy. If a patient is not a candidate for robotic surgery or laparoscopic surgery, using a small bikini-line incision may be an option.
- Laparotomy. In some rare cases, the surgeon may have to perform the myomectomy in a traditional way using a traditional full-length bikini line incision or up-down incision.
While hysterectomy—removal of the uterus—was once a common treatment for uterine fibroids, it is no longer the preferred option for many women. Women who require or choose a hysterectomy are usually able to keep their ovaries.
Uterine Artery Embolization
This treatment works by blocking the blood supply to fibroids. Imaging tests are used to reveal which arteries are supplying blood to fibroids. Tiny beads are then injected into these arteries by an interventional radiologist. With their blood supply cut off, fibroids shrink over time. Uterine artery embolization is a minimally invasive procedure that requires a tiny incision in the groin.
High-intensity Focused Ultrasound
This procedure uses high-frequency sound waves to destroy uterine fibroids. The criteria for eligibility to be treated by this modality is strict and few women are candidates for high-intensity focused ultrasound. For those women who qualify and would like to have this procedure, we refer to other fibroid centers.