MR helpful in managing patients with uterine fibroids

MIAMI BEACH, FL - When it comes to uterine fibroids, MRI scans offer useful information to both the physician and the patient, according to a presentation Thursday at the International Symposium on Endovascular Therapy. MR exams help doctors distinguish between the types of fibroids causing uterine problems, while giving the patient a better understanding of her condition.

"MR is the perfect tool for patient communication," said Dr. Goetz Richter, Ph.D., professor of medicine at the University of Heidelberg in Germany. "All of our patients understand the MR images when we discuss it with them."

MRI results allow the radiologist to understand the anatomy, morphology, and pathology of fibroids; helps identify those lesions; and is invaluable in communicating with patients, he said. In addition, after uterine fibroid embolization (UFE), the embolized fibroid is clearly visible as a dark space on the MR scan, he explained. "During follow-up it appears to be a perfect tool for fibroid size control and early depiction of failures."

As for the imaging protocol, Richter said that he found that T2-weighted images provided better information than T1-weighted images. The university in Heidelberg works with a Magnetom Harmony 1.5-tesla scanner (Siemens Medical Solutions, Erlangen, Germany).

In an unpublished study conducted at his hospital, Richter evaluated 40 women with fibroids with MRI. In 33 cases, the women were treated with UFE, but seven patients were referred back to their physicians because the examination showed fibroid morphology that was contraindicated for UFE.

Being able to offer such precise information affects both patient and referring physician satisfaction with the treatment outcome, commented Dr. Lindsay Machan, head of angiographic imaging at the Vancouver Hospital and Health Sciences Center in British Columbia, Canada.

"You will make the gynecologist very happy if you refer a case back to him for surgery," Machan said, noting that such referrals help build a practice.

By Edward Susman contributing writer
January 23, 2003

Related Reading

Cheaper UAE edges out hysterectomy for uterine fibroid treatment, January 17, 2003

Embolization method less costly than surgery for uterine fibroids, December 1, 2002

MRI-guided cryotherapy shows promise as uterine fibroid treatment, July 3, 2002

Copyright © 2003

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