Uterine fibroids, also called “leiomyomas” or “myomas” are non-cancerous tumors of the uterine muscle (although rarely they may be cancerous). Fibroids are very common and can affect 20-80% of women, most commonly in women aged 30-40s. Fibroids can be in any location and any size. A woman can have multiple fibroids or just one.  Many women with fibroids have no symptoms, and in these women the fibroids can be watched without any need for further treatment or surgery. Fibroids can cause pelvic pain, heavy bleeding and anemia, painful periods, painful sexual intercourse, enlargement of the abdomen, and physical pressure on the bladder or rectum causing frequent urination and constipation. Fibroids can also cause pregnancy complications and difficulty getting pregnant. If fibroids are suspected, an ultrasound is performed. Sometimes a saline sonogram is performed to look for small fibroids in the uterine cavity. MRI can also be helpful to evaluate the location and size of fibroids.  Surgery to remove fibroids, called myomectomy, can be performed safely. Fibroids that are in the uterine cavity can be removed by passing a camera called a hysteroscopy vaginally into the uterine cavity. Other fibroids are removed through the abdomen through laparoscopic or robotic surgery. It is important to remove the fibroids, once separated from the uterus, from the abdomen in a manner such that potential cancer is not spread. We routinely utilize a technique to remove the fibroids from the abdomen by placing them in a bag and making a small abdominal incision for extraction. The uterus can then be repaired and reconstructed well either by hand, or using robotic surgery.

Fibroids- Shaghayegh M. DeNoble, MD, FACOG, Advanced Gynecology and Laparoscopy of North Jersey