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E. The Facts About Fibroids

Narrator: This is Science Today. Every year, nearly six hundred thousand women have hysterectomies, making it the country's second most common major surgery after cesarean. Dr. Scott Goodwin, an interventional radiologist at UCLA, says one of the most common reasons for a hysterectomy is fibroids.

Goodwin: Fibroids are benign tumors of the muscle of the uterus. They tend to affect women who are in their forties or are approaching menopause. No one knows for sure why some women get fibroids, although there does seem to be some genetic component.

Narrator: Goodwin has been treating patients with a non-operative alternative to hysterectomy called embolization, in which the blood flow to the fibroid is blocked off and essentially dries up.

Goodwin: The way it's done is to put a small plastic tube or catheter in the arteries to the uterus and then inject some small plastic particles and they float out in the bloodstream and they mechanically block the blood flow.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.