Tesla Ruser, a 41-year-old engineer from Louisville, feels like a new woman these days. She’s getting a lot more sleep – and so is her husband. A large uterine fibroid tumor was pressing against her bladder, causing her to make frequent trips to the bathroom ... two or three every night and as many as 15 times during the day.
“I was always tired and sluggish,” Ruser said. “It was horrible.”
Uterine fibroids are fairly common nonmalignant growths attached to the wall of the uterus. An estimated 30 percent of all women have uterine fibroids, which can cause painful menstrual cycles, frequent urination and pelvic pain.
Ruser sought the expertise of her obstetrician/ gynecologist about how to relieve her symptoms. Her options included a hysterectomy to remove the entire uterus, a minimally invasive myomectomy to remove the fibroid while keeping her uterus or a less invasive procedure called uterine fibroid embolization (UFE).
“UFE is a procedure performed through a tiny catheter, avoiding surgery,” said John Sunderland, M.D., interventional radiology. “The goal is to cut off the blood supply to the fibroids, causing them to shrink or disappear altogether.”
“The hysterectomy was not an option for me because I thought it was too extreme,” Ruser said. She also ruled out myomectomy, opting for the UFE because it was the least invasive procedure.
UFE is done through a tiny incision in the groin area. Using imaging technology, a small catheter is guided through the incision into the artery that supplies blood to the fibroids. Next, tiny particles – smaller than a grain of sand – are injected through the catheter. The particles block blood flow to the fibroids, causing them to shrink.
“This procedure works more than 90 percent of the time,” Dr. Sunderland said.
“The UFE procedure was nearly pain-free and required only one night in the hospital,” Ruser said. “Within a week I was back to work.”
For Ruser, the procedure meant much-needed uninterrupted nights of sleep for her and her husband. She credits Dr. Sunderland and the team at Norton Audubon Hospital for her new-found energy.
“They were awesome,” she said. “The facility is state-of- the-art. It was a great experience.”
UFE at Norton Healthcare
Equipped with the most advanced digital imaging equipment in the region, Norton Audubon is home to a leading-edge, state-of-the-art interventional surgery center for UFE and other minimally invasive procedures. Dr. Sunderland and his group of interventional radiologists at DXP Imaging – Louisville Endovascular perform UFE at Norton Audubon and Norton Suburban hospitals. Speak with your OB/GYN if you think UFE may be an option for you.