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Health & Medicine

Thursday, 21 June 2018 12:54

Avoid a Hysterectomy with Fibroid Embolisation

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Avoid a Hysterectomy with Fibroid Embolisation

The minimally invasive alternative for treating Fibroids

Fibroid Embolisation is a minimally invasive procedure that combats the occurrence of uterine fibroids. This treatment offers a non-surgical alternative to a Hysterectomy and treats the fibroid through a procedure that is orchestrated through the femoral artery in the groin or the radial artery in the wrist. This treatment option is relatively new in the African continent though it is gaining speed in Southern Africa. It is currently available in South Africa, Botswana and Namibia through Fibroid Care, an initiative that is headed by interventional radiologist Dr Andrew Lawson.

Uterine Fibroids are non-cancerous growths that develop from the smooth muscular tissue of the uterus. Fibroids vary in size and symptom severity with many women having fibroids for several years before detection. Common symptoms of fibroids include excessive and prolonged menstrual bleeding, pain and pressure in the pelvic region, frequent urination, constipation and painful intercourse. Women who experience severe symptoms find that their quality of life is impacted and require treatment to restore normality.

Traditional fibroid treatment consisted of mostly surgical methods such as a hysterectomy whereby the entire womb or part of it is removed. A hysterectomy puts an end to a woman’s child bearing years and like any surgical procedure, requires a long recovery period for the patient. Fibroid Embolisation is being opted for in place of surgery due to its effectiveness at treating fibroids without impacting fertility. It is minimally invasive and requires little down time when compared with other intensive methods. It is typically conducted as an outpatient procedure, permitting most patients to be discharged just a few hours after.

The procedure can be conducted through the femoral artery in the groin or the radial artery in the wrist. The latter is preferred due to the closeness of the radial artery to the skin which accommodates a more comfortable experience overall. A local anaesthetic is administered to the patient and a tiny 1 mm incision is made in the skin above the femoral or radial artery. A catheter is fed through this incision and under x-ray guidance is used to locate the artery that supplies nourishment to the fibroid(s). Once this has been determined, a blockage is created using inert particles to prevent the flow of blood to the fibroid. This process starves the fibroid of nutrition and in doing so causes it to shrink before disappearing entirely. In the unlikely event of a fibroid recurrence, Fibroid Embolisation may be safely conducted again.

Fibroid Embolisation is available through Fibroid Care who operate primarily at the Netcare Femina Hospital in Pretoria. Fibroid Care also practise Fibroid Embolisation at hospitals in other regions to ensure service to a greater area. They currently operate at Mediclinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria, Rondebosch Medical Centre in Cape Town, Vergelegen Mediclinic in Somerset West, Lenmend Bokamoso in Botswana and Weltwitschia in Namimibia. Demand for this groundbreaking procedure is rising and Fibroid Care are committed to expanding their services to a wider range of communities in the continent.

About Dr Andrew Lawson:

Dr Andrew Lawson is a Radiologist who has specialised in Diagnostic & Interventional Radiology. He received his medical degree from the University of the Witwatersrand. He studied further in Cape Town, acquiring his accreditation in Radiology at Groote Schuur Hospital. He received training in Artery Embolisation whilst in England, and completed this specialization at the Royal Surrey Hospital. He founded Fibroid Care, a Fibroid treatment initiative that offers Fibroid embolisation in specific regions across sub-Saharan Africa.

For more information:

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Tel: +27 (0)79 810 9423

Published in Health and Medicine

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