What are uterine fibroids?
Fibroids are noncancerous tumors that grow in the wall of the uterus, either as a single tumor, or a cluster. Sizes vary widely, and in rare cases can become as large as a grapefruit. Fibroids are quite common, especially among women in their 40s and early 50s.
What are the symptoms of uterine fibroids?
Many women experience no symptoms at all, while for others symptoms can be debilitating, including pain and heavy menstrual bleeding, and pressure on the bladder that causes frequent urination. Most concerning for many women is that fact that fibroids can cause infertility by changing the shape of the cervix. In addition, fibroids that become large during pregnancy can lead to a miscarriage
What are the different types of uterine fibroids?
The location of fibroids is the greatest factor in determining the severity of symptoms. Fibroids are also classified by their location in the uterus. These are:
- Submucosal, fibroids grow into the uterine cavity.
- Intramural, fibroids grow within the wall of the uterus.
- Subserosal, fibroids grow on the outside of the uterus.
How does Dr. Lipeles treat fibroids?
If there are no symptoms, treatment is unnecessary. If a woman is close to menopause a "wait and watch” approach may be advised. Otherwise, the first line of treatment is likely medication to correct menstrual irregularities and alleviate pain. If symptoms persist treatment may entail:
- Uterine fibroid embolization. This is a procedure performed by a radiologist to block blood flow to fibroids in the uterus for women who do not plan to become pregnant.
- A myomectomy. This surgery removes the fibroids while keeping the uterus intact. It can be performed one of three ways. Dr. Lipeles is among a very small number of physicians who can perform a myomectomy with the minimally-invasive, da Vinci Robotic Surgical System. This is far superior to traditional surgery. It entails only a few small incisions, versus a 6 to 12-inch incision (and later scar). It is an outpatient procedure, in which risk or blood loss, infection, and pain is immensely decreased, as is downtime.
- A hysterectomy is the last resort. Dr. Lipeles also performs hysterectomies with the minimally invasive da Vinci Robotic Surgical System.