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A Dallas doctor offers hope for women with uterine fibroids who want to give birth


Dr. Quanita Crable, an OB-GYN with Texas Health Dallas, explains to KERA's Sam Baker why she believes laparoscopic myomectomy is the best option to remove the fibroids.

A recent patient of yours, Ashley Burnette, wanted to have a baby but found that difficult because of fibroids. 

I have a lot of women with very similar stories where they got pregnant with fibroids in place and had some kind of loss during pregnancy.

In Ashley's case, she had a delivery at about 22 weeks. The lungs and organs weren't mature enough for the baby to survive outside the womb. The fibroids did play a role in the loss of that baby.

She had procedures after being diagnosed early on with fibroids, one of which was a myomectomy and the fibroids came back.

Prior to meeting me, she had an abdominal myomectomy, which means she had an incision, kind of like a C-section scar in her abdomen, and they went in and removed the fibroids. Unfortunately, her fibroids did return. And then she had another procedure.

Right, an ablation to reduce the fibroids.

But that didn't work well for Ashley. And so then she got pregnant and that's when she lost the baby. After that, she knew that she had a recurrence of her fibroids. And so then she came to see me.

The only thing that makes what I do a little different is just the ability to do it laparoscopically versus with a big incision.

It gives the woman the opportunity to have an outpatient surgery, which means she will go home the same day after the surgery. And it gives her the ability to get back to her life a lot faster.

A lot of my patients get pregnant after this procedure. I think we're doing very good work and being able to help these ladies achieve their dream, which is to have a baby and to have one that's healthy.

After her laparoscopic myomectomy in June 2021, Ashley Burnett (with her husband Adrian) gave birth to Scarlett in September 2022.
Texas Health Resources
Texas Health Resources
After her laparoscopic myomectomy in June 2021, Ashley Burnett (with her husband Adrian) gave birth to Scarlett in September 2022.

If Ashley Burnett's only concern was dealing with the fibroids and not the desire to have a baby, would she have had more options?

If her only issue was bleeding and pain, she'd have other options. There are medications out there now that are used for managing fibroids, but none of these things get rid of the fibroids.

The only two options to remove and get rid of fibroids are myomectomy and hysterectomy. The other option would be symptom treatment.

Is there any way or means of preventing uterine fibroids?

There's no way to prevent them. Once we remove them, the medications that we use to manage them sometimes will help slow their regrowth.

Is there any point at which you don't have to worry about the regrowth of fibroids?

We think fibroids are affected by hormones. And so once a woman goes into menopause, she shouldn't have any new growth of fibroids.

If a lady comes in and she's post-menopausal and she has a uterine growth, we're going to be very suspicious for cancer.

So what is a woman's line of defense in all of this? I suppose regular checkups are all the more important?

Yes. If you have heavy bleeding or pain, talk to your doctor about it. And if they're not taking it seriously or they're not doing the work up to see why the bleeding is heavy, get a second opinion. That's the advocacy right there. And the thing that a woman can do to help herself.


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Sam Baker is KERA's senior editor and local host for Morning Edition. The native of Beaumont, Texas, also edits and produces radio commentaries and Vital Signs, a series that's part of the station's Breakthroughs initiative. He also was the longtime host of KERA 13’s Emmy Award-winning public affairs program On the Record. He also won an Emmy in 2008 for KERA’s Sharing the Power: A Voter’s Voice Special, and has earned honors from the Associated Press and the Public Radio News Directors Inc.