What Are Uterine Fibroids?
Fertility Doctor Tina Koopersmith
Discusses Fibroid Treatment & Surgery
Fibroids (also called leiomyomas or myomas) are an extremely common problem in women. Some studies estimate than 70-80% of women will be diagnosed with a myoma in their lifetime. Not all myomas need surgical removal.
Fibroids are benign (non-cancerous) growths from the uterine muscle that can sometimes affect fertility. Fibroids can be located inside the uterine cavity, in the muscle of the uterus or outside the uterus. Once a doctor has determined whether or not a fibroid could potentially cause a problem in your body, there are several ways to remove it.
The location of a fibroid ultimately determines both if fibroid treatment is needed at all, and if so, which fibroid treatment would be the most effective. If a fibroid is located inside the uterine cavity (submucosal), typically a hysteroscopy is performed to successfully remove the fibroid. During hysteroscopy, a telescope is inserted through the cervix into the uterine cavity and the fibroid is removed using scissors, a cutting current or a device called a morcellator.
If a fibroid is located within the muscle layer (intramural) or outside the uterus (serosal), a surgeon needs to approach the uterus from the outside in. A laparotomy or a laparoscopy is performed. A laparotomy is similar to a C-section in that an incision in the bikini line is made, the uterus is elevated, and the fibroids are removed individually. With laparoscopy, several small incisions are made in the abdominal wall rather than one larger one. For fibroid surgery with the laparoscope, advanced robotic technology might also be used to remove the fibroids and repair the uterus using laparoscopic tools and robotic instruments.
In order to remove larger fibroids through the smaller holes, the fibroids needs to be cut, or morcellated, into small pieces. Currently, the FDA restricts the use of the power morcellator. Some physicians morcellate the fibroids by hand, and remove the pieces through the small incisions in the lower abdomen.
Fibroids and Pregnacy
If a woman with myomas still wants children, our doctors will perform a myomectomy, where only the fibroids are removed while the uterus remains. Alternatively, if a woman is finished having children, and fibroids are a chronic problem, it’s possible to surgically remove the uterus through a hysterectomy and resolve the issue. A hysterectomy can be performed through a laparoscopy, a robotic laparoscopy or a laparotomy.
Together We'll Find A Way
No matter what your situation is, our team of caring doctors and staff are here for you. We know how important your reproductive health and fertility are, and we will assist you in making the best fibroid treatment decisions based on your individual situation.
We look forward to meeting you, learning about you, and helping you to be healthy and happy. To schedule an appointment you can call the West Coast Women's Reproductive Center at (818) 616-9277 or make an appointment online.