Should my fibroids be removed by my obgyn or surgeon?

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John K. Jain, MD
OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology)

Fibroids, also called leiomyomas, are benign, smooth muscle tumors within the uterus. Only 0.5% are malignant. They tend to occur in groups and may be located in the wall of the uterus (intramural), hanging from the outer wall of the uterus on a stalk (pedunculated), or bulging into the uterine cavity (submucous). Fibroids can cause menstrual bleeding irregularities and possibly infertility. Obstetric complications can include miscarriage, pre-term delivery and blockage of the birth canal requiring cesarean delivery. Depending on the number, size and location of the fibroid(s), surgery (myomectomy) may be necessary. A myomectomy performed by an inexperienced surgeon could potentially lead to infertility, scarring of the uterine cavity, and in rare cases the possibility of hemorrhage requiring emergency hysterectomy. In highly skilled hands, fibroids can be removed using minimally invasive surgery performed through a telescopic camera placed through the umbilicus (laparoscopic surgery). Most myomectomies can be safely performed by an experienced gynecologist. For more complicated myomectomies such as those involving multiple fibroids, repeat myomectomy, or the presence of scarring from previous pelvic surgery, the services of an expert pelvic surgeon should be sought.

Symptomatic uterine fibroids do not necessarily need surgery at all. Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) performed by an Interventional Radiologist (IR) is a non-surgical procedure which has been shown to be an effective treatment method for symptomatic fibroids. If after consultation with an IR that surgery is recommended, an Ob-Gyn surgeon is usually the type of surgeon that performs fibroid removal.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.