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Minerva Ginecologica 2007 August;59(4):427-39


language: Italian

Treatment of uterine fibroid via bilateral uterine artery embolization: state of the art

Lupattelli T. 1, 2, Clerissi J. 1, 2, Basile A. 3, Minnella D. P. 1, Donati Sarti R. 4, Gerli S. 4, Di Renzo G. 4

1 Dipartimento di Radiologia Interventistica, Multimedica Holding, Sesto San Giovanni, Milano, Italia 2 Dipartimento di Radiologia e Radiologia Interventistica, Università di Perugia, Perugia, Italia 3 Dipartimento di Radiologia e Radiologia Interventistica, Ospedale Ferrarotto, Catania, Italia 4 Struttura Complessa di Ginecologia e Ostetricia, Universita degli Studi di Perugia, Perugia, Italia


Uterine fibroids are common tumors of the female pelvis. Uterine artery embolization (UAE) is a minimally invasive alternative procedure in appropriate candidates to conventional myomectomy and hysterectomy for symptomatic uterine leiomyoma, reducing or eliminating leiomyoma-related symptoms of bleeding, bulk, and/or pain. In order to completely block the arterial blood supply to the fibroid, UAE is typically performed in both uterine arteries. At 1 year follow-up, the uterus may shrink by up to 55%, however, a re-growth of the fibroid may occur. The rate of major complications and amenorrhea following this procedure is low, ranging in most series from 1% to 3.5% and 1% to 7%, respectively. Nevertheless, the rate of amenorrhea in women over 45 seems to be higher. Women who wish to become pregnant should be cautioned about potential complications during pregnancy. Despite the lack of controlled studies that compared UAE with conventional surgery, and despite limited extended outcome data, UAE has gained rapid acceptance, primarily because this procedure preserves the uterus, is less invasive, and has less short-term morbidity than most surgical options. This review focuses on recent publications evaluating UAE and concludes that it is a safe treatment option, providing substantial improvement in both health-related quality of life and symptom control for most patients, with a very low rate of major complications. Any centre that offers UAE should adhere to published clinical guidelines, maintain ongoing assessment of quality improvement measures, and observe strict criteria to obtain procedural privileges. The gynecologist is likely to be the primary initial consultant to patients who present with myomas symptoms. Therefore, they must be familiar with the indications, exclusions, outcome expectations, and complications of UAE. When hysterectomy is the only option, UAE should be seriously taken into consideration. At this particular moment in time, data are needed from randomized controlled trials comparing UAE with surgical procedures. Current efforts to provide prospective objective assessment of treatment outcomes and complications after UAE will help to optimize women options and clinical guidelines.

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