Public Release: 

MRI 'highly useful' in the evaluation of patients with uterine fibroids

American College of Radiology

Gadolinium-enhanced MRI is highly useful in evaluating patients with uterine fibroids, often ruling out as a treatment option uterine artery embolization (UAE), which blocks the flow of blood to the tumors, says a new study by researchers from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, IL.

In the study, 100 women referred for UAE for treatment of uterine fibroids were assessed with MRI. In more than one fifth of those patients, MRI findings resulted in a decision to not proceed with UAE.

According to the study, uterine fibroids are the most common benign tumor of the female pelvis, affecting more than 20% of women. The study also states that although UAE is highly effective for the treatment of uterine fibroids, an increase in the number of referrals for UAE has led to the question of which preembolization screening imaging technique best delineates pelvic disease. "One of the aims of this study was to help radiologists and gynecologists use a unified approach in the evaluation and management of uterine fibroids," said Paul Nikolaidis, MD, lead author of the study.

According to the study, MRI is safe and has certain advantages over sonography, which is often used for preembolization screening, including a larger field of view, higher spatial resolution, better contrast resolution, the ability to better assess for enhancement or vascularity of fibroids and the ability to better classify them according to their exact location.

"With MRI, we seek to identify a subset of patients in whom UAE would not be as effective, such as patients with a single nonliving fibroid or patients with significant coexisting disease. Also, patients with certain types of fibroids would benefit from hysteroscopic resection instead of UAE," said Dr. Nikolaidis.

Dr. Nikolaidis will present the study on May 3 during the American Roentgen Ray Society Annual Meeting in Miami Beach, FL.


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