Uterine Fibroid Embolization For Large Fibroids

Uterine Fibroid Embolization For Large Fibroids

Uterine fibroids are one of the most common gynecological conditions, but many women are unaware of these benign growths and are surprised by this diagnosis. According to research data, these tumors are detected in 60% of African American women and 40% of Caucasian women by the age of 35, and between 70% and 80% by the age of 50.

Today, doctors treat small and medium-sized fibroids most often, but sometimes they come across a fibroid that has been left untreated and has grown quite large. Large fibroids are somewhat less common due to early diagnosis and the regular medical examinations women undergo. Large fibroids are usually detected in patients older than 40 years old who have been avoiding treatment for an extended period of time.

The largest fibroid was discovered in 1888 and weighed 140 lbs (63.3 kg), but sadly, it was removed from the patient postmortem. The largest fibroid ever to be removed from a living patient weighed 100 lbs (45.5 kg). More recently, in Singapore in 2015, a 53-year-old woman was admitted to the hospital to remove a large fibroid weighing 61 pounds.

These case studies make it clear that fibroids can grow to reach gigantic proportions. The larger they grow, the more severe symptoms they can cause. If you think you have fibroids, it is important to seek treatment in a timely manner so you can avoid them growing too large.

What Sizes of Fibroids Are Considered Large?

Fibroids in the uterus often increase in size like a fetus would during pregnancy, so the size of a uterus with fibroids is often measured in weeks of pregnancy.

Chart – Fibroid Sizes Compared To Pregnancy Weeks
Fibroid Category Size Uterus size compared using pregnancy weeks
Small Fibroids 1 to 20 millimeters 4 weeks
Average Fibroids 2 to 6 centimeters 10-12 weeks
Large Fibroids 6 to 19 centimeters 16 weeks
Giant Fibroids 20 to 30+ centimeters 30 weeks or more

A woman can have more than one type and can have multiple fibroids in a variety of sizes. Large uterine fibroids do not occur suddenly and can reach any size if their growth is not limited by treatment. Larger fibroids are usually the result of avoiding treatment or an incorrect therapy regimen.

Large uterine fibroids do not disappear on their own, and patients will require comprehensive treatment in order to eliminate them. Surgical treatments and oral hormone therapy are not usually effective in treating large fibroids.

All fibroids require a source of nutrition to live and grow, and their size dictates the level of nutrition they need. They tap into the uterine artery and hijack some of its important blood supply and large fibroids can require such a great deal of blood that they deprive vital organs of essential nutrients. In the same way, a large fibroid can endanger a pregnancy by diverting blood that is meant to nourish the fetus.

Large fibroids are also in danger of outgrowing their blood supply and degenerating. This can cause pain and discomfort, but it will normally only last a few days; however, on rare occasions, it may require surgical intervention. To prevent serious complications, large fibroids should be treated as soon as possible.

fibroid size chart
How big do fibroids grow?

UFE For Large Fibroids

Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) is a uterus-preserving, non-surgical procedure that eliminates even large fibroids and is the safest and most effective fibroid treatment option to date. Since it is not a surgery, it is not accompanied by surgical complications, does not require anesthesia, and is free from the pain of incisions. Other advantages of the procedure are a short recovery period, which lasts around a week, patients can go home the same day’ and it is extremely rare to experience fibroid recurrence after UFE.

Benefits of UFE for Large Fibroids

Using uterine fibroid embolization for large fibroids offers multiple benefits over surgery, including:

With UFE, There Are No Size Or Quantity Restrictions
Only fibroids smaller than 10 cm are typically removed laparoscopically, and doctors are usually reluctant to remove more than 5 fibroids using this technique. This means that removing a large fibroid or multiple fibroids would require an open myomectomy. UFE can treat all the fibroids, regardless of their size or how many there are, without surgery or incisions.
UFE Can Treat All Fibroids
Sometimes, fibroids grow deep within the walls of the uterus, and doctors are not able to remove them during a myomectomy. Their attempts to partially remove them leave the uterus compromised and women often experience the regrowth of the fibroids that are unreachable. UFE can reach every fibroids to treat them all during the same procedure, and cause them to shrink and die.
Shorter Recovery Than Surgery
The recovery after fibroid surgery can run anywhere between four and ten weeks, depending on the type of surgery performed. When using UFE for large fibroids or multiple fibroids, the recovery time is usually about a week or at most 10 days. After UFE, some patients can tell a huge difference in their symptoms as early as their first period, and by their third period, the majority of the women feel like a new person.

Doctors John C. Lipman and R. Mitchell Ermentrout, who have extensive training in the UFE procedure, perform UFE at the Atlanta Fibroid Center. The doctors at the Atlanta Fibroid Center use the best state-of-the-art medical equipment, which coupled with their years of UFE expertise guarantees the highest efficiency for women with large fibroids.

If you are being told that your only option is a hysterectomy to treat large fibroids, contact the Atlanta Fibroid Center and set up a consultation to get a second opinion. In almost all of the cases we see, women who are advised to undergo a hysterectomy, are candidates for UFE!

Do not face the problem alone, make an appointment with Dr. John Lipman by calling (770) 953-2600 today or make an appointment online to learn more about UFE.