(10/08/12) - It's estimated nearly a quarter of all women will develop uterine fibroids so painful and life-altering they will require treatment. There is a new option that may spare a lot of women from having to go through a hysterectomy to finally find relief.
"I had one that was a cantaloupe size. I had another that was an orange size," Tracy says.
Every year, 300,000 American women have hysterectomies because of fibroids. Tracy considered it, but was worried about the possible six week recovery time.
She ultimately opted for a minimally invasive treatment that Dr. Atul Gupta, of Paoli Hospital in Pennsylvania, helped develop. The new procedure involves fusing a patient's existing MRI with 3D imagery to create a detailed map of the uterus and fibroids.
Gupta says the 3D image, "is our human GPS, and we're guiding our catheters and wires into these little tiny uterine arteries using the roadmap from the MRI."
Tiny plastic micro-spheres are injected to cut off the fibroids' blood supply. They die and are absorbed by the body. The technique uses up to 70 percent less radiation and 50 percent less X-ray dye.
"There's no stitches, no scarring, no blood loss. And for many women, what they appreciate about the procedure so much is we maintain their uterus. We do not remove their uterus," Gupta adds.
Tracy says she was back to work in less than a week, symptom free and feeling great. "It was the best decision I ever made."
Paoli Hospital is the only facility in the world offering the new, FDA approved treatment. The technique is said to be successful in 90 percent of cases. If it does not work for the patient, a hysterectomy is still an option.
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