Myomectomy vs. Uterine Fibroid Embolization
If you’ve been diagnosed with symptomatic uterine fibroids, we want you to know that help is available. A range of fibroid treatments exists that can eliminate painful, uncomfortable, and inconvenient symptoms like severe cramps, heavy bleeding, low energy, and painful sex.
If you have only mild fibroid symptoms, you may be able to manage with medications like hormonal birth control or over-the-counter pain relievers. However, when symptoms begin to impact your career, social life, intimate relationships, or self-esteem, it is probably time to look into treatment.
One option, known as myomectomy, surgically removes fibroids. Another, non-surgical treatment is Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE), which shrinks existing fibroids and leaves the uterus intact.
Below, we discuss the pros and cons of myomectomy vs. fibroid embolization.
What Are the Differences Between Embolization and Myomectomy?
Myomectomy is unlikely to be your only treatment option. However, much like Uterine Fibroid Embolization, a myomectomy may be considered appropriate for women who:
- Experience severe fibroid symptoms that impact their daily lives
- Have fibroids that are impacting fertility
- May want to become pregnant in the future
There are three types of myomectomy surgeries. The size, location, and number of fibroids involved can determine which method is most appropriate.
An abdominal myomectomy is considered a major medical surgery because of the laparotomy, or large surgical incision cut in order to access the uterus.
A laparoscopic myomectomy uses a laparoscope and other small instruments that are inserted into the uterus to remove your fibroids. This can be performed with a robotic arm.
A hysteroscopic myomectomy involves a surgeon inserting a thin scope through your vagina and cervix, into your uterus. Then, a wire loop is used to shave off and remove your fibroid(s).
During Uterine Fibroid Embolization, one of our interventional radiologists uses ultrasound guidance to insert a tiny catheter into your main uterine artery. Next, they inject embolic materials to stop blood flow and nutrients to the fibroid(s).
Over time, the treated fibroid shrinks and your symptoms will reduce or disappear.
Myomectomy recovery can look different for everyone. Some women experience very little pain and are quickly back to their daily activities. Others need to take prescription pain relievers, limit their activities, and get plenty of rest for several weeks afterward.
The full length of recovery depends, in part, on which type of myomectomy is performed.
- Abdominal myomectomy: Four to six weeks
- Laparoscopic myomectomy: Two to four weeks
- Hysteroscopic myomectomy: Three to five days
Uterine Fibroid Embolization Recovery
As with myomectomy, Uterine Fibroid Embolization recovery can vary from woman to woman. However, UFE is generally less invasive than myomectomy. If you experience any pain after your procedure, you can likely manage it with only over-the-counter pain medications.
You may be advised to avoid strenuous activities and heavy lifting for the first couple of weeks afterward. If you have any concerns about your recovery, please contact your doctor immediately.
After UFE, the majority of women are back to normal activities within one to two weeks.
When Not to Get a Myomectomy for Fibroids
The size, location, and number of fibroids involved can affect whether you are a good candidate for myomectomy.
For instance, if you have multiple fibroids, your doctor may determine that surgically removing all of them will weaken the walls of your uterus or cause excessive bleeding. They may also decide that not all of your fibroids can be removed in this manner.
In such a case, a less invasive procedure like Uterine Fibroid Embolization may be preferable. UFE can be used to effectively treat multiple fibroids.
Myomectomy vs. Uterine Fibroid Embolization
There are some potential risks involved with myomectomy. These include:
- Increased chance of hysterectomy
- Excessive blood loss
- Development of blood clots
- Pregnancy or childbirth complications
- Stitches and scarring
- Does not prevent fibroids from returning
- Adverse reaction to general anesthesia
- A lengthy hospital stay
Although rare, another issue can occur if fibroids are mistaken with cancerous tumors. When cancerous tumors are cut, there may be an increased risk of cancer spreading throughout the body.
UFE, on the other hand, offers a number of benefits over myomectomy. Some of these include:
- Uterus is left intact
- Less risk of excessive blood loss, blood clots, and infection
- Less pain
- No stitches or scarring
- Minimally-invasive technique
- Uses only light sedation and local anesthesia
- No hospital stay
- You can go home the same day
Although there is never a guarantee that your fibroids won’t return, this is very rare after UFE.
Contact USA Fibroid Centers
We hope that you now have a better understanding of UFE vs. myomectomy, along with all of your fibroid treatment options.
If you have further questions about myomectomy vs. embolization, we are available to help. Your first step is to schedule an appointment with one of our experts. We offer dozens of locations nationwide, or you can request a virtual visit. Either way, we look forward to helping you take back control of your life!