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Revolutionary day case uterine fibroid embolisation procedure reaches 100 patient milestone at UHNM

Less women are suffering from debilitating and traumatic heavy menstrual bleeding thanks to a revolutionary minimally invasive procedure at University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust (UHNM).

More than 100 patients suffering from uterine fibroids which cause heavy menstrual bleeding have now benefitted from the day case uterine fibroid embolisation procedure which takes place via a cannula inserted into the radial artery in the wrist.
The procedure, which was a UK first at Royal Stoke University Hospital, is carried out under local anaesthetic, involves injecting particles the size of a grain of sand into the arteries that supply the fibroids within the uterus, blocking their blood supply and causing them to shrink and improve associated symptoms. 
Previous fibroid treatments involved inserting a needle into an artery in the groin whilst under general anaesthetic, requiring an overnight stay in hospital.  
Dr David Wells, Consultant Interventional Radiologist at UHNM said: “We started this procedure in 2017 and at the time were the first in the UK to be able to offer it as a day case procedure with patients discharged within eight hours. A pilot of ten patients went well, and since then we have carried out over one hundred cases. 
“The average age of a patient is 40. These women have often had traumatic experiences with heavy bleeding affecting their work and social life. It was seen as something, which was tolerated because they didn’t know there are less invasive and safe procedures like this available to them. 
“Traditionally women presenting with these symptoms were treated with surgery, either laparoscopic or open, however uterine fibroid embolisation offers a minimally invasive uterine sparing option for patients and we work closely with our colleagues in gynaecology to provide the best management option for each patient. 
Dr Kader Allouni, Consultant Interventional Radiologist and Clinical Lead for Interventional Radiology at UHNM said: “It’s wonderful news for patients. We’ve transformed a procedure that previously needed patients to stay in overnight and lie in a bed still for six hours, into something that they can get up and move again in 45 minutes, can go home in four to six hours and recover in their own surroundings thus improving patient flow at the Royal Stoke. 

Marielee Cross, a Diagnostic Radiographer at UHNM became a patient as one of the 100 women to benefit from the procedure. 

Marielee, who’s worked at UHNM for 19 years said: “I was offered a hysterectomy and opted for an embolisation as I felt a hysterectomy would be too invasive and have a longer recovery time.

“My procedure took an hour and I felt nothing apart from a sensation similar to a cannular being put in and some warm feelings in the arm which were explained to me prior. I’m happy with the care provided and having been on both sides as a member of staff and a patient, I hope more women are aware there are other options than a hysterectomy. They might be scared about surgery, but this procedure is so less invasive, and you’re home the same day.”

Dr Fatemeh Sakhinia, Consultant Interventional Radiologist said: “Feedback from patients has been very positive. Going in via a small cannula in the wrist respects the dignity of patients, pain control is much better, and the mobility and the overall wellbeing of the patient is improved  post-procedure.”

Dr Wells added: “We feel very excited and proud to have reached this one hundred case milestone. We know from the data collected over the years that this is a very effective and safe procedure and are excited about where it’s going. Other hospitals want to use the model, and UHNM has worked with three other hospitals who have reported back excellent results.”