Health & Medicine

Friday, 20 July 2018 11:12

Innovative keyhole procedure to treat Uterine Fibroids through the radial artery located in the wrist

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New Fibroid Treatment

Fibroid Embolisation available through parts of sub-Saharan Africa

Fibroid Embolisation is a relatively new minimally invasive procedure that treats the occurrence of fibroids in the uterus. This is conducted through the femoral artery in the groin or the radial artery in the wrist. This treatment is gaining momentum throughout South Africa, Botswana and Namibia through the Fibroid Care initiative which was founded under interventional radiologist Dr Andrew Lawson.

Fibroids are benign masses of muscle and connective tissue  which occur in and around the womb. Fibroids affect women aged 35-50 and have various symptoms which range according to the severity of the fibroid. These symptoms include prolonged menstrual bleeding as well as frequent urination, painful intercourse and pelvic pain.

Fibroid Embolisation is being favoured over surgical procedures due to the fact that it is an innovative, effective and non-surgical means of managing fibroids that has no effect on fertility. Traditional procedures include the intensive removal of the womb through a hysterectomy as well as the removal of just the fibroids i.e. a Myomectomy that also requires surgery.

A local anaesthetic is all that is required for the procedure which patients remaining awake during the surgery, though lightly sedated. A tiny incision of around 1mm is made in the skin above the femoral or radial artery. Through this incision, small and flexible tubes known as catheters are fed through and used to determine which artery is nourishing the fibroid(s). Once the artery is located, a blockage is created by means of inactive particles inserted into the artery. The effect of this is a malnourished fibroid which will shrink until it disappears completely.  

Although the procedure is possible through both the femoral and radial artery, the closeness of the radial artery to the skin allows for a more comfortable experience overall. Recovery time is minimal and most patients are discharged from the hospital on the day of the procedure itself. Although recurrence is rare, in the event of fibroids growth post-embolisation, the procedure can be safely administered again.

Africa is not fully acquainted with this process and as a result Fibroid Embolisation is not widely practiced. Through Fibroid Care, fibroid sufferers have a chance of relieving their symptoms without surgical intervention.

Fibroid MEbolisation is conducted at the Netcare Femina Hospital and Mediclinic Heart Hospital based in Pretoria. In the Western Cape, treatment is possible at Rondebosch Medical Centre in Cape Town and Vergelegen Mediclinic in Somerset West. Lenmed Bokamoso Hospital is the current location in Botswana and Weltwitschia Hospital in Namibia also offer this groundbreaking procedure. With demand on the rise, Fibroid Care is invested in serving the greater African community.

A little more about Dr Andrew Lawson:

Dr Andrew Lawson is a specialist in Diagnostic & Interventional Radiology who received his MbChb from the University of the Witwatersrand. He went on to study further in Cape Town where her recieved his Radiology accreditation at Groote Schuur Hospital. He nurtured his interests in Artery Embolsation and went to England to receive training in Fibroid Embolisation at the Royal Surrey Hospital. Dr Lawson also has exposure to diagnostic magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) which he gained during his time in Australia.

As the current face behind the Fibroid Care, he practices Fibroid Embolisation across South Africa as well as parts of Sub-Saharan Africa.

For more information
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