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Uterine Fibroids

Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths within the uterus that often appear during childbearing years and affect as many as three out of four women. In the past, women generally required a hysterectomy to remove fibroids. Today Inova Health System hospitals offer additional and better treatment options.

Treating fibroids

Fibroid embolization is a revolutionary, minimally invasive procedure with a 95 percent success rate. Embolization has replaced hysterectomy as the treatment of choice for many women with fibroids. Fibroid embolization is available at all Inova Health System hospitals. During embolization, an interventional radiologist makes a small nick in the skin and inserts a thin tube (catheter) into the main artery of the thigh. The doctor guides the catheter into the uterine artery. Tiny grains of plastic or gelatin are pumped through the catheter into the uterine artery where they block the blood supply to the fibroids. Once the fibroids' blood supply is blocked, they shrink and die.

Other treatment options include:
  • Myomectomy, which removes only the fibroids, not the uterus. This surgery is performed using a hysteroscope (a small scope inserted through the vagina and cervix), a laparoscope (a scope inserted through small incisions in the abdomen), or abdominal surgery (requiring incisions through the abdomen and the uterus).

  • Hysterectomy removes the entire uterus either by a laparoscopic procedure through the vagina, or by an open surgical procedure. Uterine fibroids are the most common cause of hysterectomy in the country. Learn more about Inova's options for minimally invasive hysterectomy

Learn more

closeup of uterine fibroids from a surgical camera
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Doctor Arina van Breda speaking at a lecture
Webinar: Arina Van Breda, MD: Non-Surgical Treatment for Uterine Fibroids.
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