Magazine article USA TODAY

New Procedure Starves Fibroids

Magazine article USA TODAY

New Procedure Starves Fibroids

Article excerpt

The latest weapon against tumors is a limber catheter about the width of uncooked spaghetti. Stanford (Calif.) University School of Medicine radiologists have begun using it to strangle fibroids, a common kind of uterine tumor. Shorter hospital stays--usually a single night--and reduced recovery times make the new procedure, fibroid embolization, preferable to surgery for many patients, suggests Mahmood Razavi, assistant professor of radiology.

Fibroids are knot-like growths in the wall of the uterus. Between 20 and 40% of women over 35 years of age develop these benign masses, which often remain small and innocuous. However, the fibroids may continue to enlarge, occasionally reaching the size of a cantaloupe, and causing a host of health problems, including internal bleeding, acute pain, cramping, and a feeling of pressure or heaviness in the abdomen. In rare cases, fibroids can become cancerous.

Many women with troublesome fibroids opt for surgery. Each year, the tumors motivate about 200,000 hysterectomies and another 100,000 surgical myomectomies--removal of the fibroids alone. Patients who undergo either operation usually receive general anesthetic and can expect to spend several days in the hospital after surgery. …

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