A large US nationwide study shows that uterine fibroid embolisation is vastly underutlised, compared to hysterectomy - especially in rural and smaller hospitals.
In fact there were more than 65 times as many hysterectomies performed than embolisations, despite data showing that the minimally invasive procedure results in substantially lower costs and shorter hospital stays than the surgical option, the study reveals.
"These findings suggest there is a lack of awareness about this safe, effective and less invasive therapy for uterine fibroids", said Prasoon Mohan, the study's lead author and assistant professor in the Department of Interventional Radiology, University of Miami Leonard M Miller School of Medicine, Miami, USA.
"Interventional radiologists urge healthcare professionals to present patients with all available treatment options so that the patient can make an informed decision. Patients need to know about the major differences between surgical treatments and uterine fibroid embolisation, especially that this is a non-surgical treatment that preserves the uterus and has a much faster recovery time compared to hysterectomy.
According to the National Institutes of Health, a majority of women - almost three out of four - will develop uterine fibroids by the age of 50. Symptoms can include heavy menstrual bleeding, pelvic pressure or pain, abdominal enlargement, pain with intercourse, constipation and frequent urination.
"The fact that so few women undergo uterine fibroid embolisation in rural and small hospital settings shows a healthcare access and education desparity in who receives this treatment. It is important we continue to educate patients about choice and determine ways to increase access to this effective, less invasive therapy", said Mohan.
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For further information about treatment of fibroids, visit our Fibroid embolisation page or make an appointment to see A/Prof Stuart Lyon on 8060 4279.