A Matter of Choice

Magee’s Fibroid Treatment Center helps women determine the right solution for them

X-ray view of uterine arteriesRobin Eberle of Butler, Pa., never had a problem with her periods. But when this mother of five hit her mid-40s, her periods became heavier and lasted longer. “There were times I couldn’t even leave the house,” she recalls.

Her gynecologist, Charles Perryman, MD, of UPMC Passavant, prescribed an ultrasound, then an MRI. Based on those results, he diagnosed Robin with uterine fibroid tumors (UFTs) and referred her to the Fibroid Treatment Center at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC.

As many as three out of every four women have UFTs, but the majority never even know it. For women like Robin, though, these non-cancerous growths in the wall of the uterus can literally take over their lives.

The Fibroid Treatment Center

Established in 2008, the Fibroid Treatment Center offers the region’s most comprehensive approach to UFTs. “We bring together gynecologists and interventional radiologists with extensive expertise in treating fibroids,” says Richard Guido, MD, the center’s founder and director. “Our focus is educating women on their full options so they can choose the best treatment plan for themselves.”

The center also offers women much-valued convenience. “During a one-day visit, you can have necessary diagnostic tests done, the results of these tests evaluated, and then meet with our physicians for a counseling session to determine your best plan of action,” says Dr. Guido.

In the past, the leading treatment for UFTs has been a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus). “It’s still the only way to totally prevent fibroids from recurring,” says Philip Orons, DO, chief of interventional radiology at Magee. “But women who are planning to have children or who are some years away from menopause may want to consider other options.”

For Robin, her treatment of choice was a uterine fibroid embolization, a minimally invasive procedure requiring little downtime. Using a thin catheter, about the size of a spaghetti strand, Dr. Orons injected small particles into the blood vessels that “feed” the fibroids to stop the flow of blood to them. “The procedure literally changed my life,” says Robin.

The center offers a full range of other options, including pain medication, hormonal therapy, and surgery. It also has a research component that includes trial procedures unavailable elsewhere.

To learn more

Women are encouraged to first have a conversation with their doctor if they think they may have UFTs. If you’re looking for a physician in your area, visit www.UPMC.com/FindADoctor or call 1-800-533-UPMC (8762).

You can also visit the Fibroid Treatment Center’s webpage. The center also will host a Community Health Talk at Magee on Thursday, Sept. 29. For details, call 412-641-4435.

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