The option of surgery in uterine fibroids appears when the other treatment options fail to deliver the required results. The recovery period depends upon the type of surgery for uterine fibroids.
Recovery Period For Uterine Fibroids
Various surgeries are available for uterine fibroids and the recommendation for a particular type of surgery depends upon the condition of the patient and the size of the fibroid. Following are the various surgical options available for a patient with uterine fibroids:
Myolysis. Myolysis involves the use of focused energy delivery system. This process helps in shrinking the size of fibroids and also blocks the blood supply to fibroid to prevent further growth. Various types of myolysis procedures are available. Thermomyolysis is the technique which involves the radiofrequency electricity for shrinking the size of the fibroids. In cryomyolysis, the fibroids are freeze with the help of supercooled cryoprobes. Another method for myolysis is focused on ultrasound. The ultrasound is managed with the help of real-time MRI1. This surgery is best for small uterine fibroids and it requires about 2-4 days to recover.
Uterine Artery Embolization. This technique is used to block the blood supply to the fibroids. This is done by blocking the uterine artery that carries blood to the fibroids and helps grow it. There is no cut made on the body, rather, a catheter is attached to the uterine artery and a substance is injected into the artery through the catheter. That substance blocks the artery which kills the growing fibroid cells2. The patient may be discharged from the hospital the next day but full recovery takes sound 7 days as most women suffer from severe abdominal cramps after uterine artery embolization.
Endometrial Ablation. This treatment is recommended by the gynecologists when the size of the fibroid is small but the patient experiences heavy bleeding. This treatment requires specialized instruments to destroy the lining of uterus through hot water, electric current, or microwave energy. This results in reducing the menstrual flow3.
Recovery in endometrial ablation is rather quick as compared to other surgeries in uterine fibroids.
Myomectomy. Myomectomy is the procedure of removing the fibroid tissue while leaving behind the other healthy tissues of the uterus. Various types of myomectomy are available depending upon the size of the fibroids. Abdominal myomectomy is used when the fibroid is deep inside and the recovery takes about 4-6 weeks2. For faster recovery, laparoscopic myomectomy is considered, while for smaller fibroids, hysteroscopic myomectomy is done and the patient may be discharged on the same day.
Hysterectomy. Hysterectomy is the surgery done for complete removal of the uterus. It is major surgery and will end the chances of getting pregnant. It is the only permanent solution available for uterine fibroids3. The recovery in this procedure takes about 6-8 weeks2.
The symptoms due to uterine fibroids vary in different women. The symptoms depend upon the size and site of uterine fibroids. The symptoms may be mild, moderate or severe. No treatment is required in the patient with mild symptoms and only the progression of the disease is monitored. However, mild and moderate form of the disease requires medical intervention. Initially, the treatment is done through medications to shrink the size of fibroids and to manage the symptoms of this condition. Natural therapies are also used along with the main treatment to provide optimum relief to the patient. If the medications and natural therapy fail to provide the required results and the symptoms of the patient do not get improved, the doctor may advise undergoing surgery. The ideal candidate for surgical intervention generally has the following symptoms:
- Severe abdominal pain
- Swelling in the abdomen
- Heavy bleeding
- Reduced quality of life
- High risk of infection
- Frequent urination
The recovery period for myolysis is 2-4 days while for uterine artery embolization it is 5-7 days. The patient gets recovered in 4-6 weeks in myomectomy while in hysterectomy, the patient requires 6-8 weeks for recovery.
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