Anchor: Welcome back to We Are Austin. Many women suffer from uterine fibroids but are hesitant to have surgery. Dr. Connie Hsu is here with ARA Diagnostic Imaging to share some alternative options to help you feel better. Thanks being here with us this morning.
Doctor Hsu: Thanks for having me!
Anchor: So, let’s break down some of these terms. What is a fibroid exactly?
Doctor Hsu: A fibroid is a growth from the muscle cells in the uterus and actually fibroids are not cancer.
Doctor Hsu: They are a benign growth and with time they do get big, which is why 20-40% of women, before the age of 50, develop these symptoms.
Anchor: Wow. Ok. So, what are some of those symptoms?
Doctor Hsu: Those symptoms include heavy menstrual bleeding, pelvic pain, particularly during menses. We call this dysmenorrhea. The can also cause bulk symptoms where the pelvis feels full and bloated. Some patients may have urinary frequency or constipation with that.
Anchor: So, discomfort in your general life that you would like to address.
Doctor Hsu: Yes, yes.
Anchor: So, are there treatment options?
Doctor Hsu: Yes! First of all, first line is medical but that is hormonal suppression drug therapy. The other options are surgical, which include myomectomy and hysterectomy.
Doctor Hsu: Also, there is non-surgical which is uterine fibroid embolization.
Anchor: So that’s what we’re looking at right here.
Doctor Hsu: Exactly!
Anchor: What is that?
Doctor Hsu: So, that is, basically, a minimally invasive procedure where there’s a board certified interventional radiology doctor that goes in with a small little nick through the wrist or the groin, navigates into the artery and goes into the uterus. Then we deliver FDA approved particles that will block the blood supply to the fibroids, and with time will shrink the fibroids or make them disappear all together.
Anchor: Wow! That’s really impressive!
Doctor Hsu: Yeah. Actually, greater than 50% of women don’t realize that they might have a non-surgical option for themselves.
Anchor: So can you go more in depth with that process and what that recovery time looks like?
Doctor Hsu: Of course! So one of the benefits of uterine fibroid embolization is that the recovery time is short. It’s about a week compared to six weeks with a hysterectomy or myomectomy.
Doctor Hsu: You know, minimal complication risk – no bleeding, no risk of injury to the bladder or the ureter, like with surgical options.
Doctor Hsu: Also you keep your uterus.
Doctor Hsu: In fact, research has shown that the majority of women who chose a non-surgical option actually have improved sexual function and actually a higher quality of life.
Anchor: Wow! So it’s a really good option for a lot of people across the board it sounds like.
Doctor Hsu: Yeah it is.
Anchor: What are some other important things to know if you’re thinking about this?
Doctor Hsu: So, know that this is a procedure that has been around for greater than 20 years.
Anchor: Oh ok.
Doctor Hsu: It’s a proven, safe, effective treatment for fibroids. Most women don’t realize that’s a potential option. The success rate is 88-92%.
Anchor: So, some really high numbers.
Doctor Hsu: So if you have heavy menstrual bleeding, that’s causing you anemia, greater than 90% of these women will have improvement in their symptoms by three months.
Doctor Hsu: Greater than 70%, when we talk about bulk symptoms like urinary frequency, fullness, bloating – things like that…
Anchor: So I hear it can really change your quality of life.
Doctor Hsu: It can, and that’s kinda why we’re here.
Anchor: If someone’s looking to learn more or wants to have a conversation about their options, what’s the best way to do that?
Doctor Hsu: The best way is to reach out to the interventional clinic.
Doctor Hsu: Our coordinators would get on the phone with you, talk to you about treatment and then schedule you for an MRI. Then you have a consultation or a doctor’s visit with one of our interventional radiology doctors. We’d go over the imaging with you to see if you are a candidate.
Anchor: Dr. Hsu, thanks for being here! I always enjoy learning from you. You have so much good info and you’re really helping to improve the quality of people’s lives out there so thank you so much!
Doctor Hsu: Well, thanks for having me.
Anchor: So we can put that info on the screen about how you can find ARA. There’s lots of locations all over central Texas to meet the needs of people across Austin. Thank you!
Doctor Hsu: Thank you!