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Technique Restores Fertility to Patients with Fibroids

By Medimaging International staff writers
Posted on 19 Jun 2017
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Image: The digital subtraction angiography images show the progress of partial Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) treatments (Photo courtesy of RSNA).
Image: The digital subtraction angiography images show the progress of partial Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) treatments (Photo courtesy of RSNA).
Researchers have shown that Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) treatments can enable women suffering from uterine fibroids to become pregnant again.

Uterine fibroids often cause infertility and complications during pregnancy, and current standard treatments consist of surgery to remove the fibroids that may cause complications such as hysterectomy, and is not always effective. UFE treatments on the other hand are not yet fully accepted for fertility-preserving treatment in women with symptomatic fibroids.

The researchers from the Department of Interventional Radiology at the Saint Louis Hospital (Lisbon, Portugal) registered the pregnancy rates of 359 women with fertility problems who suffered from uterine fibroids, for a period of nearly six years. All of the women had undergone either partial or conventional UFE treatment. The study was published online in the June 2017 issue of the journal Radiology.

The results of the research showed that 149 women (41.5%) in the study group became pregnant at least once during the 6-year study period. The clinicians used Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans and digital subtraction angiography imaging to visualize partial UFE.

Study co-author João Martins Pisco, MD, PhD, from the Department of Interventional Radiology at Saint Louis Hospital in Lisbon, Portugal, said, “Our findings show that UFE is a fertility-restoring procedure in women with uterine fibroids who wish to conceive, and pregnancy following UFE appears to be safe with low morbidity. Women who had been unable to conceive had normal pregnancies after UFE and similar complication rates as the general population in spite of being in a high-risk group. In our study there are now almost 200 newborns following UFE. Our next step will be a randomized study comparing the results of partial and conventional UFE."

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