fibroids, hyst., uae, ufe, etc.

suziequeNovember 29, 2008

Hi Folks - Lots of questions, I guess; I'll try to be concise! I've just read through most of the posts on here about fibroids (including my own posted quite a while ago.

I have 3 fibroids. 2 are large orange size and the 3rd is large grapefruit size. My doctor kept saying they'd probably shrink after menopause; they haven't (last period was 1 1/2 years ago). Other than the big belly and bloat, they haven't bothered me, until now. Now the big one bothers me every day (not constantly). It "aches", or throbs. And when I lay on my side it pulls. Ouch.

I have an appointment with my doctor in a couple of weeks. I think she may recommend hysterectomy now, since they're bothering me. Previously she said that they were too large for vaginal removal. I am going to ask her about UFE and UAE (I don't know the difference or anything much about them), and see if I'm a candidate for either of those or if the fibroids are too large (or if that has anything to do with being a candidate).

Can you give me a "pre-appointment" primer on UFE and UAE? And do the fibroids have to be fairly small?

Now if she does recommend hysterectomy, what can I expect afterward? Will the size of my belly decrease? I'd think so, because the things causing the belly to be big will be gone. Sure hope so - I'm small but my stomach is at aboug a 5-6 month pregnancy size. Now - sorry to be asking this - should I expect facial hair? I know tht probably sounds funny and vain!

What types of questions (besides these) should I ask my doctor?

Thank you all -


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UAE and UFE are the same thing - some just use one term instead of the other. This is a procedure that is performed by an interventional radiologist not a gynecologist. That being the case you need to see an IR to determine whether or not you are a candidate for this procedure. Your gynecologist may lead you to believe he/she can make that determination but that is not the case. An IR will typically want to see an MRI to make that determination. Less experienced IRs will more often say that UFE will not be successful on larger fibroids but more experienced IRs have treated them successfully. There is a Yahoo group called EMBO (for uterine artery embolization) where you can get all kinds of good info on this procedure from people who have had it or are considering it. There are also several highly experienced IRs who sometimes answer questions on that board. Someone recently posted outstanding results after UAE for enormous fibroids.

I opted for UFE because it is not a surgical procedure and thus doesn't have all the short and long term risks associated with that. Also, the recovery time is about a week vs. that of major abdominal surgery. A laparscopic surgery is of course easier to recover from - harder to find a surgeon with the skill to do a laparasopic hysterectomy on a very larger uterus though and always the risk that they will end up having to convert to an abdominal.

Good to do some research and not just assume your doctor will provide you with all the information you need about all your options so you can make the best decision for you.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2008 at 8:10PM
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Thank you, gibby. I appreciate the time you took to reply so thoroughly. I will find an IR and compare that person's opinion to that of my gyn. And I'll also find the Yahoo group.

I'll report back.


    Bookmark   November 30, 2008 at 9:31AM
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