SIR 2004 offers benefits of minimally invasive uterine fibroid embolization treatment

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The first large, multi-center, comparative trial shows that uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) -- a minimally invasive interventional radiology treatment that blocks the blood supply to the fibroid tumors, causing them to shrink -- offers a much quicker recovery and a lower adverse event rate compared to myomectomy, the surgical removal of uterine fibroids.

The study -- presented last week at the 29th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Society of Interventional Radiology (SIR) -- found that UFE patients were back to work in 10 days, compared with 37 days for the myomectomy group, and that UFE patients returned to normal activities in 15 days, compared with 44 days for the myomectomy group. The average hospital stay for UFE patients was one day, compared with 2.5 days for myomectomy patients.

Previous studies have shown UFE -- also referred to as uterine artery embolization (UAE) -- to be a safe and effective treatment compared to hysterectomy, still the most common treatment for uterine fibroids. UFE, however, has had fewer complications than either surgery.

In this study, the proportion of patients with the occurrence of at least one adverse event was higher for the myomectomy cohort and the difference was statistically significant.