Uterine fibroid procedure beneficial, effective for women


JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recently recognized a procedure performed locally at Johnson City Medical Center as being safe, effective and beneficial for women suffering from uterine fibroids. 

Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE), performed at JCMC’s Department of Interventional Radiology by Dr. Perry Jernigan, Dr. Samuel Massey and Dr. Donald Donahue of Mountain Empire Radiology, is a minimally invasive treatment for fibroid tumors of the uterus. 

“We have offered this procedure for several years with good success in the past,” Jernigan said. “Now that it is accepted by the gynecological community, we should start seeing more patients for this beneficial exam.” 

Fibroid tumors in the uterus are benign and rarely turn cancerous; but they can cause heavy menstrual bleeding, clotting, pain in the pelvic region, and pressure on the bladder or bowel. Most women have only minor symptoms.

According to the Society of Interventional Radiology, of the approximately 600,000 hysterectomies performed each year in the U.S., one-third of these are due to fibroids. 

UFE can help many patients avoid having a hysterectomy, a more invasive procedure. In a UFE, a physician uses a fluoroscope (an X-ray camera) to help guide the injection of small particles into the uterus and fibroids that block blood flow, causing the fibroids to shrink. 

Nearly 90 percent of women with fibroids experience relief of symptoms after a UFE. The procedure is usually offered only to women who no longer wish to become pregnant or who want or need to avoid a hysterectomy. 

Most women, however, can and should be confident about their decision to consider UFE as a treatment option, according the ACOG. The treatment is considered by the ACOG to be Level 1, meaning that it is a proven treatment that should be offered to patients when discussing treatment options. Most women with symptomatic fibroids are candidates for UFE and should obtain a consultation with an interventional radiologist to determine whether UFE is a treatment option for them. Potential UFE patients should obtain a referral from their primary care physician or OB/GYN. 

For more information about UFE, visit www.radiologyinfo.org or www.sirweb.org. For more information about Drs. Jernigan, Massey or Donahue, call 423-926-4966 or visit www.merpc.com. 
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