Surgical Procedures for Uterine Fibroids
by Ricker Polsdorfer, MD
Frequently, fibroids can be managed by procedures and minor surgeries designed to treat the symptoms uterine fibroids cause.
Uterine Fibroid Embolization
Uterine fibroid embolization is designed to cut off the blood flow to fibroids and kill them by cutting their lifeline.
During this procedure, a radiologist will thread a catheter into an artery in your groin and guide it into the uterus. The catheter will be threaded with the aid of dye and x-rays. The radiologist will then inject small particles to block the blood supply feeding the fibroids.
Myolysis and Cryohemolysis
Myolysis is a procedure that shrinks the fibroids, using a directed heat source. Several devices can be used that have high frequency electrical current or lasers that cauterize (burn) the blood supply to the fibroids. The devices are usually inserted through very small incisions and guided by a laparoscope. As an alternative, cryohemolysis uses liquid nitrogen to freeze the fibroids.
The fibroids remain in place and are not surgically removed. Without a blood supply, the fibroids shrink. Myolysis and cryohemolysis are done on fibroids of certain sizes near the surface of the uterus.
Focused Ultrasound Surgery
In this procedure, you will be inside an MRI scan machine, which will allow your uterus and the rest of the abdominal area to be viewed. Focused sound waves will be used to destroy the fibroids, while leaving your uterus intact.
Myomectomy is the surgical removal of fibroids without removing the uterus. Unlike a hysterectomy, a myomectomy can preserve fertility. There are a variety of ways a myomectomy can be performed depending on where the fibroids are located and how large they are. Examples are:
A hysterectomy is removal of the uterus. There are different types of this procedure, such as:
A supracervical hysterectomy is surgery to remove the uterus only. This is not done as often because the cervix can still cause problems. However, a woman may choose this option if she wants to keep her cervix or if the removal of the cervix may make the surgery more difficult.
A total hysterectomy is done either through the abdomen or, if the uterus is small enough, through the vagina.
Pregnancy is impossible after a hysterectomy.
When to Contact Your Doctor
Contact your doctor if any of the following occur after your procedure:
Uterine fibroids. The National Uterine Fibroids Foundation website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated November 21, 2010. Accessed December 13, 2017.
Uterine fibroids fact sheet. Women's Health—US Department of Health and Human Services website. Available at: https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/uterine-fibroids. Updated February 6, 2017. Accessed December 13, 2017.
Uterine leiomyoma. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115612/Uterine-leiomyoma . Updated April 15, 2016. Accessed December 13, 2017.
Last reviewed November 2018 by Beverly Siegal, MD, FACOG
Last Updated: 12/20/2014
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