A Life-Changing Outcome
For 42-year-old Mara Cutchember of Lexington Park, having her menstrual cycle every month was excruciating. With heavy bleeding and excessive pain, she often found herself bedridden due to symptoms caused by fibroids. “I felt like I was in labor for three to four days a month,” Mara said. “It had gotten worse, so that’s when I said, ‘I really need to do something about this.’ ”
After years of suffering, Mara began conversations with her gynecologist about what she could do to alleviate her pain. She had discussed a hysterectomy with her doctor, but, luckily, she had also read about uterine fibroid embolization and her gynecologist recommended the procedure.
Scott Kuo, MD, of MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital’s Interventional Radiology team performed Mara’s surgery in December 2016.
“It is life-changing,” said Mara, who no longer struggles with monthly pain. “Sometimes I forget I am having my menstrual cycle now.”
Uterine fibroid embolization is typically a quick, procedure - 60 to 90 minutes - performed with minimal sedation. The minimally invasive, image-guided procedure allows patients to recover more rapidly than if they had to undergo a full hysterectomy. Mara’s recovery was four to five days versus six weeks for a more extensive surgery.
The procedure Dr. Kuo performed is called Uterine Artery Embolization, which allows embolic agents to be delivered to the uterus and fibroids. The arteries providing blood to the fibroids are blocked causing the fibroids to shrink, thus eliminating the painful monthly symptoms.
“Many people do not realize that MedStar St Mary’s has an interventional radiology department that is ready to serve the community with different types of procedures and treatment options,” said Dr. Kuo. “Mara’s story is a great example of how we are using state-of-the-art technology to give patients faster recovery times and better outcomes through less invasive procedures.”
What is Interventional Radiology (IR)?
Advanced imaging such as ultrasound, X-rays, CAT scans, MRI scans and other methods, allow interventional radiologists to see inside a patient’s body in order to treat complex conditions with minimally invasive procedures. IR can reduce hospital stays, lessen the chance of complications and save lives.
IR Procedures Performed at MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital
- Dialysis interventions
- Line placement (ports, dialysis catheters)
- IVC filter placement/removal
- Kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty
- Percutaneous image-guided biopsy
- Uterine artery
- Varicose vein ablation
- Feeding tube placement
- Biliary and nephrostomy tube placement
Visit MedStarStMarys.org/IR to learn more about Interventional Radiology.