ad info

 Diet & Fitness

 custom news
 Headline News brief
 daily almanac
 CNN networks
 CNN programs
 on-air transcripts
 news quiz

CNN Websites
 video on demand
 video archive
 audio on demand
 news email services
 free email accounts
 desktop headlines

 message boards




Little-used treatment effective against fibroid tumors

Fibroid tumors that can develop in the uterus can be as small as a pea or as large as a grapefruit.  

March 22, 1999
Web posted at: 5:40 p.m. EST (2240 GMT)

NEW YORK (CNN) -- For many women, fibroid tumors in the uterus are not a harmful condition. But for others, like Monica Cassans, fibroids can be painful -- and pose difficult choices.

Fibroids are benign muscular tumors that develop in the uterus mostly during a woman's reproductive years. They can be as small as a pea, or larger than a grapefruit. They can cause heavy bleeding during menstruation and in some cases, infertility.

For severe cases, there are two main surgical options: myomectomy, the removal of the fibroid itself; or hysterectomy -- the complete removal of the uterus, which leaves women infertile.

Cassans was not ready to consider the last option.

"I don't have children yet, and I felt I was too young for that procedure," she said.

So Cassans found another option, called fibroid embolization. The non-surgical procedure cuts off the blood supply that feeds the tumors while the patient lies awake on the table. Surprisingly, many gynecologists either don't recommend the procedure or don't know much about it.

"We can actually go into the artery that feeds the uterus and place particles in that artery to block that artery," said Dr. Kenneth Crystal, the radiologist who performed the procedure on Cassans at St. Francis Hospital in New York. "This procedure is designed to deny the fibroids the blood supply they need for growth and nourishment."

Crystal said the risks are comparable to any angiographic (blood vessel) procedure, "which is really quite trivial. The actual procedural risks are probably less than one in 500," he said.

Fibroid embolization is not widely practiced in the United States. Only a handful of doctors perform the procedure -- and itÕs covered by most insurance.

"I think once it becomes a more mainstreamed type of procedure, it will be more embraced by the gynecological community," Crystal said.

Those suffering from fibroids and considering hysterectomy may want to talk to a gynecologist, or speak to an interventional radiologist.

Ask the Mayo Physician - Uterine polyps
January 25, 1999
Doctors study non-surgical alternative to hysterectomy
March 11, 1997

UCLA Medical Group on fibroid embolization
Society of Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiology
Journal of the American Medical Association on womenÕs health
Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.

Affordable drug reduces mother-to-child HIV transmission, study says
A new risk factor for heart disease
The HMO debate: Who decides emergency care?
Tick-borne illness known to infect dogs found in humans
Enter keyword(s)   go    help

Back to the top   © 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.