New treatment for fibroid tumors

U.F.E. shortens recovery time, fewer side effects

SAN ANTONIO – Radiologist John Thomas is offering a new treatment for fibroid tumors.

It's called Uterine Fibroid Embolization, or U.F.E., and is noninvasive. Working from Methodist Hospital Radiology, he provides an alternative to the usual method, a hysterectomy.

"The recovery time for that is usually three or four days in the hospital and about six weeks off of work.  With this procedure, you come in in the morning, do the procedure and you go home two hours later, and you are generally back at work three days later," said Dr. Thomas.

A U.F.E. kills the fibroid by cutting off blood flow to the tumor.

Dr. Thomas said that most of his patients have found him though an internet search. He says they are often told by their gynecologists to opt for a hysterectomy, but decide to look for alternative treatment on their own.

Carmen Garcia is a patient of his. She was initially going to get a hysterectomy but was turned off when she read the side effects online.

"I was horrified, because that's when I saw the long term effects, from heart disease, to prolapsed belly, to sexual dysfunction, suicidal thoughts and depression," said Garcia.

The side effects of U.F.E. are usually less than those from a hysterectomy. There are now five doctors offering the treatment at Methodist Hospital.