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Keywords:

  • Fibroids;
  • hysterectomy;
  • leiomyomata;
  • ovarian function;
  • uterine artery embolisation

Please cite this paper as: Rashid S, Khaund A, Murray L, Moss J, Cooper K, Lyons D, Murray G, Lumsden M. The effects of uterine artery embolisation and surgical treatment on ovarian function in women with uterine fibroids. BJOG 2010;117:985–989.

Objective  The aim of this study was to evaluate and compare both ovarian function and menstrual characteristics following uterine artery embolisation (UAE) and surgery.

Design  Subgroup of women from a randomised controlled trial.

Setting  Gynaecology and radiology units in Scotland, UK.

Population  Ninety-six women from the randomised controlled trial comparing embolisation with surgery as a treatment for fibroids (REST), which recruited 157 patients (106 UAE; 51 surgery).

Methods  Seventy-three women undergoing UAE and 23 women undergoing surgery (with ovarian conservation) had serum follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) measurements taken on day 3 of the menstrual cycle prior to treatment, and at 6 and 12 months post-treatment. Data on menstrual cycle characteristics was also collected.

Main outcome measures  Ovarian failure, as defined by an FSH level of >40 iu/l, and change in duration of menses and length of menstrual cycle.

Results  There was no significant difference in the rate of ovarian failure at 12 months between UAE (11%) and surgical patients (18%) (= 0.44). This finding was not influenced by age. The mean duration of menstrual flow decreased significantly, from baseline to 12 months, by 1.7 days (SD 3.8), (95% CI 0.8–2.6). There was no statistically significant change in mean cycle length at 12 months (0.7 days [SD 4.9]; 95% CI [−0.5, 1.9]).

Conclusions  There is no evidence for UAE accelerating a deterioration in ovarian function at 1 year, when compared with surgery. UAE is associated with a decrease in the duration of menstrual flow at 1 year.