By the age of 50, an estimated 80 percent of African-American women will have developed uterine fibroids. The benign growths cause period pain, heavy bleeding and can hinder a woman's ability to conceive and carry a child to term. Just as alarming, according to a 2013 study, 43 percent of African-American women with fibroids often wait four or more years longer than their white counterparts to seek treatment, which can lead to even more severe symptoms.
According to that same 2013 study, when many African-American women eventually did seek medical treatment, it was often too late—hysterectomies were performed on African-American women 2.4 times more than white women.
Left untreated, fibroids can grow in size and be as small as a grain of rice and as large as a grapefruit. Women can have a single fibroid or have multiple. They can have symptoms or be asymptomatic.
There are five types of fibroids. They are:
- Intramural Fibroids that grow into the wall of the uterus (most common)
- Subserosal Fibroids that grow on the outside of the uterus
- Submucosal Fibroids located in the muscle beneath the lining of the uterine wall, or endometrium
- Intracavity Fibroids that are located in the uterine cavity
- Cervical Fibroids that form in the cervix
African-American Women, Pregnancy, and Fibroids
Fibroids can create pregnancy complications, especially for African-American women, who are prone to high-risk pregnancies arising from gestational fibroids. Common complications due to fibroids include cesarean section, a breech baby, pre-term delivery, placental abruption—when the placenta detaches from the uterine wall before delivery, leading to a lack of oxygen for the fetus—and a stalled labor.
Here at Seckin Endometriosis Center, no matter what kind of fibroid you have, we encourage our patients who are experiencing a loss in quality of life and comfort to seek early and timely surgical intervention to achieve better health outcomes.
Surgical Treatment of Fibroids
When it comes to fibroids, hysterectomy should be the last and final option and should be the patient's choice first. At Seckin Endometriosis Center, our surgeon Dr. Tamer Seckin employs a number of masterful techniques to safely remove fibroids and restore a woman's reproductive health and livelihood.
There are five different kinds of surgical treatments for fibroids. They are:
- MyomectomyThis is the surgical removal of myomas via cutting into the uterus, followed by uterine suture repair. There are three types of myomectomies: laparotomic, laparoscopic and hysteroscopic myomectomies
- Laparotomic myomectomy: This open abdominal surgery gives the surgeon full visualization to remove the fibroids.
- Laparoscopic myomectomy: Minimally invasive abdominal surgery that is the preferred method for removing fewer than four small fibroids. This is a much more precise, difficult and longer surgery, but is also extremely effective
- Hysteroscopic myomectomy: Minimally invasive vaginal surgery used only for small, pedunculated submucosal fibroids. This procedure does not require an incision into the abdomen
- Hysterectomy-The surgical removal of the uterus. This surgery should only be used as a last resort for treating fibroids. If the fibroids are large, diffuse and cannot be treated by any other protocol than a hysterectomy is considered. Very rarely is this form of surgery needed for fibroids, and yet it accounts for ⅓ of hysterectomies in the U.S.
Dr. Seckin is highly skilled in treating most cases of fibroids via laparoscopic myomectomy and uterine repair. His preferred method of fibroid removal is via laparoscopic surgery, which can remove the fibroid at its root with less downtime than an invasive surgery. Very, very rarely do we see the need for an open, invasive myomectomy, which requires a longer time to heal and a much larger incision or a hysterectomy.
"I discovered Dr. Seckin online when I was doing some research on laparoscopic fibroid removal. I had a very large uterine fibroid that caused me constant discomfort, and I desperately wanted it removed. Previous doctors I had seen were either dismissive about my fibroid or just wanted to give me a hysterectomy, as it would be “easiest." Then there were the doctors who would be willing to remove my fibroid less invasively but whose costs were so high that I could never afford them despite having good health insurance. I was beginning to feel disheartened and discouraged that I would ever find a solution.
I called Dr. Seckin’s office hoping that this might be my answer and after talking with Kim, who was so very kind and helpful, I made an appointment. Both Kim and Lucy were so warm and welcoming and patient in answering every question I had. Once I met Dr. Seckin I knew right away that I was in good hands. He reassured me that he could take care of my fibroid by removing it laparoscopically, in the least invasive way possible. He also assured me that regardless of my insurance issues and finances, he would take care of me and not to worry. I knew that he genuinely cared and I felt relieved and confident that I was under the right care.
It has since been a couple of months since my surgery, and I couldn’t be happier. I no longer have the discomfort and pressure that I was used to having daily. I cannot thank Dr. Seckin and his staff enough for helping me through this situation and for taking such great care of me. Dr. Seckin is by far one of the most compassionate and caring doctors I have ever met. I am so grateful for having found him, and I am forever grateful to for all his care and kindness."
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