Sunday, November 7, 2010

235. Uterine Artery Embolisation (UAE) shrinks fibroids

Reference: The Straits Times Mind Your Body, Oct 21, 2010

Fibroids are benign tumours in women and affect 40% of women aged over 40. Cause pain and heavy bleeding or prevent pregnancy if inside the fallopian tubes. It will not eliminate all fibroids unlike surgical removal but does not require surgery with its complications.

UAE is a non-surgical way using a tiny catheter to block the blood flow in the artery that supplies blood to the fibroids. It is done by radiologists but Dr Bruce McLucas, an American gynaecologist wants to train gynaecologists to do it. In SGH, Prof Tan Bien Soo, senior consultant radiologist said it is team work between different specialists that matters. He says there is "continuity of care" in SGH where the procedure is currently done by radiologists who usually don't follow up on the patient, unlike the gynecologist.

Done under sedation, UAE leaves no scars and no blood loss. Outpatient procedure, less cost and recovery time. In 9/10 women, UAE shrinks the fibroid by 60% within 6 months, sufficient to stop pain and other compications. UAE is less damaging han myomectomy (surgical removal of fibroids) or hysterectomy (entire womb with or without ovaries and fallopian tubes surgically removed).

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