Gone for Good? The Real Risk of Recurrence Following Fibroid Removal
Once removed or destroyed, a fibroid does not grow back, though new fibroids may develop. A study by Hanafi provides deeper insight into the role the number fibroids plays in determining the likelihood of their future appearance. Results showed an 11 percent rate of recurrence in patients who had only one fibroid removed and a significantly larger instance of recurrence —74 percent— in patients who had multiple fibroids removed through myomectomy.3
Another treatment option is radiofrequency ablation (RFVTA), which utilizes the Acessa System. The Acessa procedure uses ultrasound for identification of all fibroids throughout the surgery, along with heat from a small probe to shrink the individual fibroids, leading to their reabsorption. The procedure does not require uterine incisions, so recovery time is minimal. A multi-center study on the Acessa method revealed that —in the three years following the procedure—11% percent of patients required surgical re-intervention for fibroid-related symptoms.4
A third surgical method for the removal of fibroids is Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE), also known as Uterine Artery Embolization (UAE). Performed by an interventional radiologist, the procedure works by blocking blood flow to the individual fibroids, causing them to die. UFE has proven generally successful in improving patients’ quality of life, and recovery time for the procedure is typically short, though patients often experience significant post-operative pain and require short-term hospitalization. The reintervention rate with UFE is particularly high: studies have demonstrated that nearly 37% of patients required surgical re-intervention within three years of receiving UFE.5
Hysterectomy, or removal of the uterus, is the most common surgical procedure to treat uterine fibroids. It is the only fully curative method, (because without the uterus, fibroids cannot occur), but it is highly invasive, involves a longer recovery period, and carries the risk of serious side effects.6 Moreover, removing of the uterus initiates early menopause, so it is an unfavorable option for women who wish to preserve their uterus.
Patients who have been diagnosed with uterine fibroids or are experiencing symptoms associated with fibroids should consult with a medical professional in order to determine the best course of treatment.
- Yoo, E. et al. Predictors of leiomyoma recurrence after laparoscopic myomectomy, Journal of Minim. Invasive Gynecology. Nov-Dec 2007; 14(6): 690-7
- Hanafi, M. Predictors of leiomyoma recurrence after myomectomy, Obstetrics and Gynecology. April 2005; 105(4): 877-81
- Mara, M. “Uterine fibroid embolization versus myomectomy in women wishing to preserve fertility: preliminary results of a randomized controlled trial,” European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, June 1, 2006 i9i
- Cardozo, E.R. et al. “The estimated annual cost of uterine leiomyomata in the United States,” American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, December 12, 2011.