Interventional Radiology to Support Women’s Health
At Summit Interventional Radiology, we are pleased to offer minimally invasive outpatient treatment for several women’s health conditions.
Uterine fibroids are benign tumors of the uterus and are one of the most common causes of heavy bleeding and pain during periods. Fibroids can also cause bleeding outside of a normal menstrual cycle, severe pelvic pain, increased frequency of urination, bloating, and anemia.
While medications can often alleviate the symptoms caused by fibroids, they do not reduce their size. When these medications are not enough, surgical removal of the uterus is often suggested.
Uterine fibroid embolization is a minimally invasive outpatient alternative that kills or shrinks the fibroids by blocking off their blood supply using small, soft plastic beads. This has many benefits over surgery, such as a shorter recovery and fewer complications, and it spares the uterus from removal.
Adenomyosis is another commonly encountered cause of pain and heavy bleeding during menstrual cycles. The inner lining of the uterus, called the endometrium, is made up of glandular tissue that thickens and sheds over each menstrual cycle. In adenomyosis, this tissue grows deep into the middle muscular layer of the uterus. In addition to menstrual pain and bleeding, women may also suffer from pain during sex, heaviness, and bloating.
As is the case with uterine fibroids, women with adenomyosis are often only offered surgical removal of the uterus, called a hysterectomy. Uterine artery embolization is a uterine-sparing surgical alternative, where blood flow to the uterus is partially blocked off using soft plastic beads. This shrinks or kills the areas of adenomyosis, and reduces the associated symptoms.
Pelvic Congestion Syndrome
Chronic pelvic pain is a problem that plagues many reproductive-age women, accounting for up to 20% of visits to gynecologists. Unfortunately, despite extensive workups, often no cause is found. Pelvic congestive syndrome, also known as pelvic venous insufficiency, is an often-overlooked cause of chronic pelvic pain.
Simply put, it is the development of enlarged veins (varicose veins) around the pelvic organs. The type of pain this produces is variable, but can be described as a dull aching pain that is present for at least six months. It is made worse by prolonged standing, sex, menstruation, and pregnancy. Diagnosis is typically made by CT or MRI.
Currently, the most common treatment for this condition is blocking off the dysfunctional ovarian vein and closing down the painful varicose veins in the pelvis by injecting a liquid detergent, a process called sclerotherapy.
Fallopian Tube Recanalization
The fallopian tube is the structure that an egg passes through during fertilization, on its way to the uterus. The fallopian tubes can become blocked with debris or scarred from prior infection. This is a common cause of infertility in women.
Fallopian tube recanalization is a minimally invasive procedure in which a small tube is inserted into the blocked fallopian tube under X-ray guidance, and used to clear the obstruction.
Contact us to learn more about interventional radiology procedures to support women’s health.