Alternative procedure for fibroids can avoid long hysterectomy recoveries

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by JANET ST. JAMES

WFAA

Posted on October 11, 2013 at 5:40 PM

DALLAS -- Working out is wonderful for Gabbby Chimney once again.

For a long time, the pain and side effects of uterine fibroids made her too weak.

"By the time I got home from work,” she explained, “I was just so tired, I couldn't do anything else but sleep."

According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of uterine fibroids include heavy menstrual bleeding, prolonged menstrual periods lasting a week or longer, pelvic pressure or pain, frequent urination, difficulty emptying the bladder, constipation, and backache or leg pains.

To relieve her symptoms, Chimney was told a hysterectomy was the only option.

According to the National Uterine Fibroids Foundation, about 600,000 hysterectomies performed annually in the United States. Between 170,000-300,000 are due to uterine fibroids.

While as many as 80 percent of women have fibroids, only about one-in-four have symptoms severe enough to require treatment.

Chimney didn’t like the idea of major surgery with the long recovery - up to 10 weeks - for a hysterectomy. She was thrilled to learn about a new, laparoscopic procedure called the Acessa being done at Forest Park Medical Center.

The procedure delivers radio-frequency energy to destroy the fibroids, while preserving the uterus.

"You can think of a uterine fibroid as a baseball,” said Dr. Alan Greenberg. “This heats up the fibroid and turns it into mush, and eventually the fibroid will shrink. And eventually, it'll dissipate and go away at some point."

Because Acessa also preserves the uterus, unlike hysterectomy, patients don't need hormone therapy afterward.

Dr. Greenberg was among the first in the nation to try the Acessa. He expects this to be standard treatment for fibroids in coming years.

"I'm back!” Gabby said with excitement.

Instead of weeks off work - which a hysterectomy would have required - Gabby Chimney was back to her job in a week, working out, and enjoying life, without the pain of fibroids.

E-mail jstjames@wfaa.com

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