Many women suffer from fibroids, benign muscular tumors that grow in the uterus. Fibroids vary greatly in size and severity, ranging from a hardly-noticeable pea-size to the size of a grapefruit. While fibroids present few problems for many women, in others they can cause heavy menstrual periods, intense paid, and sometimes can lead to infertility.
For those women who do suffer from severe fibroids, there are three treatments. Doctors may remove the fibroid in a procedure called myomectomy, may perform a hysterectomy, or may choose fibroid embolization. Radiologist Kenneth Crystal of New York's St. Francis Hospital argues that the latter treatment is under-used. Crystal said that, despite the fact that risks from the procedure are few and results are consistent, very few doctors perform it and many gynecologists either aren't aware of it or don't recommend it.
The non-surgical procedure works by blocking the fibroid's access to a blood supply, limiting the tumor's growth and eventually causing it to die. Doctors block the blood flow by placing special particles in the targeted artery. The patient remains conscious throughout the procedure.