Anchor: Welcome back to We Are Austin. Many central Texas women suffer from fibroids but are hesitant to have surgery. ARA offers a treatment called uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) and Dr. Connie Hsu is here to show us why this minimally invasive procedure may actually be a good alternative to surgery. It’s nice to have you back in the studio.
Doctor: Thanks for having me.
Anchor: I always learn a lot when you are here. So, let’s dive into some of the terms we just heard.
Doctor: Of course.
Anchor: What exactly is a fibroid?
Doctor: So, a fibroid is a growth from the uterine muscle cells.
Doctor: It happens in a lot of women, and slowly over time it can get big so that causes symptoms.
Doctor: You know, in fact, 20-40% of women by the time they get to the age of 50, develop symptoms.
Anchor: So, what are some of those symptoms?
Doctor: So, those symptoms include heavy menstrual bleeding. So, if you are having to change a or tampon every 1 to 2 hours, that’s not normal.
Doctor: So, a lot of women think it’s normal because it gradually happens over time, but this hopefully will give them some perspective.
Doctor: Also, urinary frequency, pelvic pain, severe menstrual cramps during your periods, constipation, things like that.
Anchor: Yeah. So, you’re saying it doesn’t have to be this way.
Anchor: People have normalized that, but there are options and different treatments.
Anchor: So, what do some of those look like?
Doctor: Medical treatments include birth control pills, hormonal therapy. Surgical treatments include hysterectomy, myomectomy, and laparoscopic radiofrequency ablation. The non-surgical treatment is uterine fibroid embolization.
Anchor: So that’s what we are looking at right here. What exactly does that entail?
Doctor: So, uterine fibroid embolization—we create a small nick in either the wrist or the groin. And we navigate into the arteries, down to the uterine arteries and we deploy FDA approved particles to block the blood supply to the fibroids.
Doctor: With time those fibroids shrink and disappear.
Anchor: So, what does that look like process-wise when it comes to recovery and results from that?
Doctor: Well, you know, fibroids have been a common issue and uterine fibroid embolization has been around for over 30 years with the proven safety and efficacy in terms of treatment for fibroids.
Doctor: So, the results show about an 88 to 90% success rate for relief of symptoms, such as the heavy menstrual bleeding, the urinary frequency, the pelvic pain.
Doctor: You know, 1 in 5 women don’t realize that, you know, they have options. They think that hysterectomy, that’s it.
Doctor: So, this is a nice thing. Research has shown that actually non-surgical uterine fibroid embolization can improve women’s sexual function, as well as overall quality of life.
Anchor: Yeah, and that’s so good to hear because like you said, people have become so comfortable being uncomfortable. You are here to tell them there are lots of treatment options out there.
Doctor: A lot of women become anemic from their heavy menstrual bleeding, and they think surgery is it. But you know they may actually have real options.
Anchor: So, how does someone go about getting fibroid embolization?
Doctor: Well, they can call our clinic and set up an appointment. Usually we’ll get an MRI prior to the appointment. A board-certified interventional radiology doctor will sit with the woman and go over the imaging and see if they are a candidate for something that’s non-surgical but has a low complication rate.
Anchor: Yeah. Thank you for all the info.
Anchor: And what you do. It’s so helpful and you break it down in a way it’s digestible and it’s good to hear there are options. So, they can give you a call. You’ve got locations all over Austin. What’s the best way to get in touch?
Doctor: Well, the number that your provided is directly to our clinic and our coordinators reach out to you and get you set up.
Anchor: Thanks for being here, as always.
Anchor: There’s all the info on the screen or the website if you want more. They are small in…
ARA continues to follow CDC guidelines in requiring employees and patients to wear masks at our imaging centers for the safety of all.