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A. A Possible Alternative To Hysterectomy

Narrator: This is Science Today. Every year, about 600 thousand hysterectomies are performed nationwide, many in women who have fibroids, or benign tumors in the uterus. Dr. Scott Goodwin, director of Interventional Radiology at UCLA , helped develop a new technique which may alleviate the need for hysterectomy.

Goodwin: The procedure itself is called embolization and the basic idea is to block the blood flow to the entire uterus to a large extent the fibroids are more sensitive to that, so the normal uterine tissue can stay alive, whereas the fibroids tend to shrink or disappear.

Narrator: Goodwin says this happens by inserting a catheter into the arteries of the uterus and injecting small plastic particles, which cut off blood flow to the fibroids.

Goodwin: It seems to be very safe and it's working for at least 90 percent of the women. Will it last five years, will it last three years? We don't really have that answer yet. 0:09

Narrator: But Goodwin says for many women, this is a hopeful alternative to what is often considered emotionally traumatic surgery. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.