Severe cramps and heavy periods aren’t just an inconvenience to your daily life. They can be signs you’re suffering from fibroids. If they’re impacting your work and relationships, you may want to consider fibroid treatment.
A myomectomy, also called a fibroidectomy, is a potential treatment option. This is a surgical procedure with potential risks. However, a myomectomy isn’t the only solution for treating uterine fibroids. Understanding all your options helps you make informed choices, which is why you should consult with a fibroid specialist. Together, you can develop an individualized treatment plan that works best for your lifestyle.
USA Fibroid Centers aims to provide patients with the knowledge they need to feel confident in their healthcare decisions. Below, we share information on fibroid myomectomy surgeries and alternative non-surgical treatments such as Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE).
What Is a Myomectomy?
A myomectomy surgically removes fibroids from the uterus. Women in their childbearing years often chose this procedure as a surgical alternative to a hysterectomy. A myomectomy preserves the uterus, giving women the ability to become pregnant if they wish. However, it is considered a major surgery that usually requires general anesthesia, an overnight hospital stay, and a long recovery. It’s important to know that there are other, non-surgical options that also keep the uterus intact and preserve fertility.
Myomectomy Surgical Procedures
There are different types of myomectomy surgeries. The method a doctor recommends depends on the number of fibroids, their size, and their location in the uterus.
Abdominal Myomectomy (Open Myomectomy)
This procedure is named for the location of the incision: the bikini line area in the lower abdomen. The fibroids are removed and multiple stitches are used to sew the uterine muscle back together. Then the surgical incision is stitched up, leaving a myomectomy scar similar to a C-section scar. Abdominal myomectomies typically take two to four hours to complete.
This technique is used to remove submucosal fibroids from the endometrium that lines the uterine walls. A surgeon inserts a lighted scope through the cervix and administers a saline solution to expand the uterine walls. The fibroids are then scraped away from the endometrium, either manually with a blade or with an electric instrument.
Laparoscopic or Robotic Myomectomy
In the laparoscopic method, a tiny camera on a tube is passed through a small abdominal incision to guide the surgeon. Other small incisions are made for the tools the surgeon uses to remove the fibroids. A robotic myomectomy is very similar, except the movement of the surgeon’s instruments is guided by robotic arms and a computerized console.
The duration of the recovery period typically depends on the type of myomectomy procedure:
Abdominal: Two-night hospital stay for observation and four to six weeks of recovery at home
Hysteroscopic: Several hours of observation in office and three to five days of recovery at home
Laparoscopic/Robotic: One night hospital stay for observation and two to four weeks of recovery at home
Many women experience pain after a myomectomy and are prescribed medication during recovery. Vaginal bleeding or spotting is also common and can last up to six weeks. Vigorous physical activity should be avoided during recovery, although women can return to work when they feel ready.
How Does a Myomectomy Affect Fertility?
Women can still get pregnant after a myomectomy because the uterus is left intact. However, fibroids may grow back, or new ones may appear, which could affect fertility. Excessive scar tissue in the uterus can cause similar fertility issues; additionally, a laparoscopic procedure may weaken the uterus, which could affect childbearing.
Fertility can also be affected in the rare instances when the myomectomy causes heavy bleeding. In those cases, a hysterectomy may be performed to stop the bleeding.
Finally, doctors often recommend that women who’ve had abdominal myomectomy have C-sections for future pregnancies to avoid complications during delivery.
Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) vs. Myomectomy
Uterine fibroid embolization shrinks fibroids by cutting off their blood flow and nutrient supply. This is done by injecting embolic agents through a tiny catheter inserted in the main uterine artery.
Both UFE and myomectomy preserve the uterus after fibroid treatment. They’re also options for women whose fibroid symptoms negatively impact their quality of life. However, there are some significant differences between the two treatments.
Reasons to Get UFE Instead of Myomectomy
- UFE requires only one tiny incision for the catheter. Abdominal and laparoscopic myomectomies call for larger or multiple incisions.
- UFE allows women to avoid post-op stitches, unlike myomectomy.
- Light sedation and local anesthetic are used in UFE, but myomectomies require general anesthetic (local anesthetic may be used sometimes in a hysteroscopic procedure).
- UFE is performed in an outpatient center, but myomectomies require a hospital setting. Additionally, women need brief hospital stays after abdominal and laparoscopic myomectomies.
- A myomectomy presents a risk of infection or scarring that can impact fertility. UFE doesn’t pose that same risk, and many women go on to conceive.
- Recovery is quicker for the majority of women who get UFE compared to those who get myomectomies.
- Myomectomies pose several potential risks. These include blood loss, excessive blood clotting, infection, scarring, and complications during pregnancy or delivery.
Schedule a UFE Consultation With USA Fibroid Centers Today
If you’re suffering from fibroids, we want you to know there are effective, non-surgical options for treatment. USA Fibroid Centers specializes in UFE, a minimally invasive, outpatient treatment that alleviates symptoms by shrinking your fibroids.
Learn more about the benefits of this non-surgical solution by requesting a consultation with one of our fibroid specialists.
We make it easy for you to get the care you need at one of our many locations nationwide or with telemedicine consultations. Find freedom from your painful symptoms with the help of USA Fibroid Centers.