YOUR HEALTH: A “miracle baby” thanks to a better way to remove fibroids

HACKENSACK, New Jersey – Francesco Stancato is 17 months old and growing by the day.  But getting to this point was a challenge for mom MaryBeth.

For years, her periods were unpredictable and unusually heavy

Until one night.

"I tried to take a shower and unfortunately I lost so much blood I became unconscious."

MaryBeth was rushed by ambulance to the hospital.

Doctors found a fibroid on her cervix. They suggested trying to shrink it with hormones or a total hysterectomy.

"At the time I was 36, we had three kids, but we had in our mind that we weren't finished with our family yet."

John DeMeritt is an expert in vascular embolization, closing off blood vessels that feed tumors.

In the past, uterine embolization hasn't worked on cervical fibroids.

So Dr. DeMeritt and his team devised a new approach. They inserted a catheter in MaryBeth's leg, then worked to deliver tiny particles as close as possible to the fibroid.

"We tried to thread an even smaller catheter than is usually used directly into the artery that feeds the cervix," explained Dr. DeMeritt.

TREATMENT:   During menopause, fibroids often shrink, and symptoms often become less apparent or even resolve completely.   When treatment is necessary, it can take the form of medication or surgery.   The location of the fibroids, the severity of symptoms, and any future childbearing plans can all affect the decision.   The first line of treatment for fibroids is medication.   Severe fibroids may not respond to more conservative treatment options, and surgery may be necessary.   Fibroids do not normally result in complications, but if they occur, they can be serious and even life-threatening.   Complications may include heavy periods, abdominal pain, pregnancy problems, infertility, and Leiomyosarcoma, a rare form of cancer.  (Source: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/151405.php)

Doctors did a follow-up after three months.

"Surprisingly, the fibroid had shrunk by 92 percent," said Dr. DeMeritt.

And three months after that MaryBeth found out she was pregnant.

"He was a surprise. We were pregnant within six months of surgery. He is definitely our little miracle, right?"

MaryBeth was awake during the procedure and says she felt calm as she watched the process on a monitor.

Doctors used advanced imaging during the procedure to ensure the particles designed to block the blood flow were delivered to the right place.

If this story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Jim Mertens at jim.mertens@wqad.com or Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at mthomas@ivanhoe.com.