Is there a minimally invasive way to treat uterine fibroids?
Yes, there are minimally invasive — and even non-invasive (i.e., non-surgical) — treatments for uterine fibroids.
The appropriate treatment depends on the patient and the case, so if you have been diagnosed with uterine fibroids and want to know whether these treatments will work for you, see your doctor.
Uterine fibroid treatment may begin with medication. In mild cases, over-the-counter pain pills may be effective. Medication to reduce estrogen might also be considered, and hormonal birth control can have a positive effect.
However, sometimes surgery is necessary to remove uterine fibroids. This procedure is called myomectomy. There are a few ways to perform it, including a couple of minimally invasive procedures. These minimally invasive surgeries include:
- Laparoscopic myomectomy. In this procedure, a surgeon inserts a thin instrument with a video camera through a tiny incision near the navel. A couple of additional incisions are made, and the surgical instruments are inserted into the abdomen to excise and remove the growths.
- Robotic myomectomy. This is like laparoscopic myomectomy. However, rather than insert and use the instruments by hand, the doctor controls a robotic arm from the console.
- Hysteroscopic myomectomy. If the fibroids are within the cavity of the uterus, the surgeon might be able to remove them through the vagina. This is done with a slim instrument inserted through the cervix and into the uterus.
- Fibroid embolization. A radiologist does this procedure. In it, a non-toxic substance called polyvinyl alcohol (unrelated to the kind of alcohol that can be drunk) is injected into the blood vessels leading to the uterus. The substance blocks blood flow to uterine tissue, shrinking fibroids. It is not done in women who expect or want to have children in the future.