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Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous tumors that develop within or attach to the wall of a woman’s uterus and are the most common non-cancerous pelvic tumor. Fibroids may be present in 15 - 20% of women in their reproductive years -- the time after starting menstruation for the first time and before menopause. Fibroids may affect 30 - 40% of women over age 30. Fibroids occur 2 to 3 times more frequently in African-American women than in Caucasian women.

The cause of uterine fibroid tumors is unknown, but the use of oral contraceptives and pregnancy lower the risk of developing new fibroid tumors. The growth of a fibroid seems to depend on the hormone estrogen. As long as a woman with fibroids is menstruating, the fibroids will probably continue to grow, usually slowly, but they rarely affect females younger than 20 or who are postmenopausal.

Fibroids begin as tiny, microscopic seedlings that spread throughout the muscular walls of the uterus and over time can grow quite large, eventually filling the entire uterus, and weigh several pounds. Although it is possible for just one fibroid to develop, usually they occur as multiples.

Sometimes, a fibroid hangs from a long stalk, which is attached to the outside of the uterus. Such a fibroid is called a pedunculated fibroid. It can become twisted and cause a kink in blood vessels feeding the tumor. This type of fibroid may require surgery.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Sensation of fullness or pressure in lower abdomen
  • Pelvic cramping or pain with periods
  • Abdominal fullness, gas Increase in urinary frequency
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia), sometimes with the passage of blood clots
  • Sudden, severe pain due to a pedunculated fibroid

Robotic Treatment for Uterine Fibroids

Uterine Fibroids can be treated effectively and precisely with a robotic myomectomy or robotic hysterectomy.

With a myomectomy, fibroids are removed from the uterus wall, and leave the uterus completely intact. Since the surgery is minimally invasive and uses the precision of the da Vinci® robot, patients who undergo a robotic myomectomy have a quicker recovery time and less complications than they would experience with traditional open and laparoscopic procedures.

A robotic hysterectomy involves the removal of the entire uterus, along with the fibroids. Again, this surgery is performed with the minimally invasive da Vinci® robot—allowing patients quicker recovery times and fewer complications than they would experience with traditional open and laparoscopic procedures.

For more benign gynecological information and candidacy requirements for robotic surgery, including robotic hysterectomy, contact Florida Hospital today on 407-303-4573.