Comprehensive Fibroid Care - Innovative technology to provide options beyond hysterectomy

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UH OBGYN Update | May 2022

Many women who have fibroids don't have any symptoms. In those that do, symptoms can be influenced by the location, size and number of fibroids.  Uterine fibroids, or uterine myomas, can cause symptoms that include long and heavy menstrual flow, pelvic pain, pressure on the bladder and rectum, and painful intercourse.

Though surgery to remove the uterus (hysterectomy), has long been the gold standard in effective treatment of uterine fibroids, there are multiple options including uterine conserving options to treat fibroids. As a leader in clinical research, the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at University Hospitals is at the forefront of exploring new innovative treatments to manage fibroids.

Comprehensive fibroid care is a journey, and one that Douglas Sherlock, MD partners with his patients on. “The modern way to make decisions with patients for complex care is through a process of education” says Dr. Sherlock. “Understanding options allows patients to help them make the right choice for them.”

Douglas Sherlock, MDDouglas Sherlock, MD

Dr. Sherlock believes that it is important to provide options including minimally invasive hysterectomy, uterine conserving fibroid removal (myomectomy), and other minimally invasive laparoscopic and hysteroscopic methods of destroying fibroids and their blood supplies.  “I spend time discussing treatment options with my patients to develop a personalized plan based on the woman’s age, health, fertility preservation preference, and the size, number and location of the fibroids” says Dr. Sherlock.

Open hysterectomy or observation till after menopause has been the traditional options. However, another surgical option is to remove the fibroids through a procedure known as myomectomy. In contrast to a hysterectomy, the uterus remains intact in a myomectomy, preserving the woman’s fertility. A myomectomy can be done as a traditional open procedure or can use minimally invasive, laparoscopic techniques.  “Many women want to keep their uterus and may just want a laparoscopic myomectomy – to remove the fibroid itself, explains Dr. Sherlock. This allows patient choice and resolution of symptoms with an individualized approach that allows reduction in risk and easier recovery.

Dr. Sherlock sees a variety of fibroid cases in his practice and believes a surgeon’s responsibility is ultimately to help patients make an informed decision through shared decision making process. He currently offers a diversity of treatments to help patients to make the right choice for them.

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