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Free program: Nonsurgical alternative to hysterectomy
La Grange – For a woman in her childbearing years, hearing she needs a hysterectomy is among the worst news she could ever receive. Not only would she lose her uterus, but the operation itself can be dangerous and painful. For women around the world with uterine fibroids, this scenario has played out millions of times.

Now there is a minimally invasive procedure to treat fibroids – without dangerous surgery and without telling a woman she has to give up her uterus: uterine fibroid embolization (UFE). This high-tech procedure is used by interventional radiologists to destroy uterine fibroids.

Dr. Steven Smith, an interventional radiologist, will present a program on UFE at 6 p.m. July 14 at the Dixon Education Center at Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital, 5101 S. Willow Springs Road. The class is free, but space is limited. To reserve a seat, call (630) 856-7525 or visit www.keepingyouwell.com/almh.

Doctors don’t know what causes uterine fibroids, which are non-cancerous growths. They range in size from small seedlings, undetectable to the human eye, to large, bulky masses that can distort the uterus – sometimes expanding to reach the rib cage. Uterine fibroids often have symptoms that go undetected, such as:
• Constant pelvic pain
• Heavy menstrual bleeding
• Anemia
• Frequent urination
• Constipation
• Back pain
• Infertility

Nearly one third of all hysterectomies performed each year are to treat fibroids.

“With hysterectomy, patients pay a permanent price that may not be necessary,” Smith said. “Every woman who is advised to have this surgery should get a second opinion.”

Patients stay at the hospital overnight and need only one week of recovery, compared to six weeks for a hysterectomy. In addition to being easier on patients, there are no incisions involved in UFE, no scaring and no pain or blood loss. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology states there is scientific proof that UFE is a “safe and effective option” for women.

In 1998, Smith and his interventional radiology colleagues at Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital performed the first UFE procedure in Illinois and have been changing the lives of women ever since.