Did you have surgery for uterine growths (fibroids)? Please describe your experience.
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Surgery for fibroids
Hysterectomy: Removal of the uterus is called a hysterectomy. Fibroids are
the most common reason that hysterectomies are performed in the United States.
Advantages are that: (1) the fibroids never return (the only "cure" for
fibroids); (2) the women will never have another menstrual period (which some,
but not all women, find to be an advantage); and (3) contraception is no longer
a concern. It is easy to understand, therefore, that the best candidates for
hysterectomy have already finished their childbearing.
Myomectomy (Local Resection): This surgery involves the removal of the
fibroids themselves without removal of the whole uterus. Myomectomy is not
permanent in the sense that fibroids can grow back after the procedure. The
fibroids grow back in about 25 to 50% of women, and about 10% of women will need
a second surgery. Although myomectomy is a sure temporary measure, it is less
guaranteed to be a permanent solution. Thus, this procedure is often used to
"buy time" if the woman is
planning to become pregnant in the next few years.
The advantages of this surgery are that it preserves the uterus for childbearing
and involves less extensive surgery, which implies less extensive recovery
periods. Certainly, in the short term, bleeding tends to be much improved after
myomectomy (in about 80% of women).
Embolization: Another technique for treating fibroids is known as uterine artery embolization (UAE). This technique uses small beads of a compound called polyvinyl alcohol, which are injected through a catheter into the arteries that feed the fibroid. These beads obstruct the blood supply to the fibroid and starve it of blood and oxygen. Uterine artery occlusion (UAO), which involves clamping the involved uterine arteries as opposed to injecting the polyvinyl alcohol beads, has also been used as a way to interrupt blood supply to the fibroid.
Other Procedures: Some treatments have involved boring holes into the
fibroid with laser fibers, freezing probes (cryosurgery), and other destructive
techniques that do not actually remove the tissue but try to destroy it in
Complications uterine fibroid surgery
It might seem very appealing to a woman to just have the uterus removed,
however, as with any surgery, complications can include a risk (though extremely low)
of dying from anesthesia. There are also risks of bleeding and infection,
although these risks are fairly low. However, a hysterectomy is actually a more
significant procedure than many women realize in that it does require
substantial recovery time.