Throughout your life, it may become necessary to undergo diagnostic testing or procedures as a means of detecting and/or treating a problematic gynecological condition. These measures often involve minor surgery, which is why it is important that they be performed by a knowledgeable and skillful practitioner who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of gynecological disorders. At the Women’s Medical Center, P.C., located in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, our well-respected team of board certified Obstetricians/Gynecologists are experts in the field of gynecology, and have experience working with women of all ages to promptly and accurately diagnose and manage any gynecological health issues that may arise.
UTERINE FIBROIDS: DETECTION AND TREATMENT
Uterine fibroids (a.k.a. myomas, leiomyomas) are noncancerous growths that develop from the smooth, muscular tissue of the uterus (myometrium). Fibroids vary significantly in terms of growth patterns, size, and quantity, and may expand or fade over time. Although uterine fibroids are very common, because they may not trigger any physical symptoms, many women remain unaware of their presence.
The initial detection of uterine fibroids typically occurs within the context of a routine pelvic exam, and the presence of fibroids may then be confirmed with a diagnostic test, such as: MRI, ultrasound, hysterosonography, or hysteroscopy. A hysteroscopy allows your treatment provider to closely study the uterine lining and to take a biopsy (small sample of tissue) if further analysis is required. Hysteroscopy procedures can be utilized for both diagnostic and treatment purposes, including:
- Location and removal of small polyps or uterine fibroids
- Screen for endometrial cancer
- Placement of a contraceptive implant (Essure) as a means of permanent birth control
- Diagnosis as to the cause of the patient’s infertility and/or miscarriages
- Detection and treatment of intense cramping and bleeding during menstruation
- Location and adjustment of a dislodged intrauterine device (IUD)
Patients who are experiencing discomfort or health complications (i.e. anemia) as a result of uterine fibroids may find relief from one or more of the following treatment options:
- Uterine Artery Embolization
- MRI-guided Focused Ultrasound Surgery (FUS)
- Medications: Gn-RH (Gonadotropin-releasing hormone) agonists (i.e. Lupron, Synarel)
- Robotic or Laparoscopic Myomectomy
- Abdominal Myomectomy
- Hysteroscopic Myomectomy
- Endometrial Ablation
- Hysterectomy: major surgery to remove the uterus. Although completely effective as a solution for uterine fibroids, hysterectomy procedures also eliminate the possibility of future childbearing. Patients who have elected to undergo a hysterectomy for the treatment of uterine fibroids are typically given the option to keep their ovaries, which will delay the onset of menopause.
ABNORMAL PAP SMEAR
A ‘positive’ Pap smear test indicates the presence of abnormal, potentially dangerous cells that have developed in or around the uterus and/or cervix, such as:
- Atypical Squamous Cells of Undetermined Significance (ASCUS)
- Atypical Glandular Cells
- Squamous Intraepithelial Lesion
- Squamous Cell Cancer or Adenocarcinoma Cells
Most abnormal Pap smear results necessitate additional follow-up testing. Your Women’s Medical Center, PC treatment provider will select the appropriate test(s) to perform, taking into consideration the specific results of your most recent Pap smear, your previous history of Pap smears, and any factors that put you at an elevated risk for developing cervical cancer.
Supplementary testing may include one or more of the following procedures:
- Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP): the LEEP channels the power of an electrical current to diagnose and treat abnormal cervical cells. LEEP is a 20-30 minute outpatient procedure involving the injection of a local anesthetic into the cervix, and the use of a thin wire loop electrode to transmit a painless electrical current. The current allows your physician to excise the targeted cervical tissue and send it to the lab to ensure that all affected cells have been successfully removed. At the conclusion of your LEEP, a ball electrode or topical solution may be utilized to stop any bleeding, and you will be able to return to your normal daily activities shortly thereafter.
- Colposcopy and Cervical Biopsy: for a colposcopy procedure, a low-powered magnifying device known as a colposcope is employed to magnify the cervix and uterus, thereby enabling your treatment provider to find and take samples of (biopsy) any abnormal tissues
- HPV Test: typically run by the lab using the same cell samples that were used for your Pap smear, the HPV test ascertains the presence of the HPV virus types most likely to cause cervical cancer