A newly published study posted online to the journal Radiology explores a minimally invasive treatment that can help to restore fertility in women who suffer from uterine fibroids.
Uterine fibroids are one of the most common causes of infertility with 1 in every 4 women with fibroids experiencing fertility issues.
The standard treatment of fibroids, abnormal amounts of fiber and muscle tissue found in the wall of the uterus, is the surgical removal of the fibroids through a procedure called myomectomy. According the the authors of the study, however, myomectomy is not always possible and can lead to serious health concerns such as hysterectomy.
A new alternative to myomectomy is a less invasive procedure known as Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE). During UFE, an embolic agent is injected in the the uterine arteries in order to block the blood supply to the uterus fibroids.
This allows the uterus to recover as the fibroids shrink and die.
In their study, Dr. Jọo Martins Pisco, M.D., Ph.D. and his colleagues measured the success of partial or conventional UFE in 359 women with uterine fibroids who had previously been unable to conceive.
The study found that in a six-year follow up period, 149 of the 356, of 41.5 percent of the women became pregnant one or more times, with 131 women giving birth to 150 babies. Dr. Pisco said, "Our findings show that UFE is a fertility-restoring procedure in women with uterine fibroids who wish to conceive, and pregnancy following UFE appears to be safe with low morbidity. Women who had been unable to conceive had normal pregnancies after UFE and similar complication rates as the general population in spite of being in a high-risk group."
The researchers are continuing their study, with an additional 12 pregnancies reported after the publication of their study.