A study comparing health-related quality-of-life measures among three different interventions for uterine fibroids showed quality of life to increase subsequent to each treatment: abdominal hysterectomy, noninvasive magnetic resonance-imaging-guided focused ultrasound surgery (MRgFUS), and minimally invasive uterine artery embolization (UAE). 

Fiona M. Fennesssy, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of radiology at Harvard Medical School, led a survey of 74 women who underwent UAE (mean age: 44 years), 62 who underwent hysterectomy (mean age: 47 years), and 61 who underwent MRgFUS (mean age: 47 years) for symptomatic uterine fibroids between 2004 and 2006. The researchers were able to compare pretreatment and posttreatment quality-of-life measures by obtaining for each intervention a utility weight—a single unit of measure that encompasses all the quality-of-life benefits of a particular health care option.

“Quality of life significantly increased following each of the fibroid treatment options,” noted Dr. Fennessy in a statement describing the survey results, which were published online ahead of print by the journal Radiology. “But patients rated the non- or minimally invasive treatments—UAE and MRgFUS—more favorably.”

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The investigators also used the waiting trade-off (WTO) method to compare short-term utility weights for actual treatments. The WTO method is based on the fact that people wait longer to avid noxious tests and/or procedures.

The median WTO wait time was highest for hysterectomy (21.6 weeks), meaning that hysterectomy patients said they would wait 21 weeks in order to avoid the procedure.  The UAE and MRgFUS patients each said that they would put off their procedures by a median of only 14.1 weeks.