Uterine fibroids are small, noncancerous growths in the uterus that typically occur during childbearing years. When they grow, multiply, or distort the size and shape of the uterus, they can cause pain, heavy menstrual bleeding, cramping, and difficulty emptying your bladder or having a bowel movement. If you experience these symptoms, our gynecologists can help. We offer nonsurgical and surgical options to treat uterine fibroids. 

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Sound waves create images of fibroids affecting your uterus and ovaries.


In this test -- also called saline infusion sonography -- the uterine cavity is filled with a saline solution. This allows us to obtain more detailed ultrasound images of the lining of the uterus and the fallopian tubes to diagnose fibroids with greater accuracy.


A thin, lighted tube equipped with a camera is inserted through the cervix. This allows your doctor to see inside the uterus and to identify fibroids. Your doctor can also pass tiny tools through the hysteroscope to remove fibroids or tissue samples. May be performed in a doctor’s office or in an operating room.


This special X-ray uses a contrast dye to create images of your fallopian tubes and uterus.

Pelvic MRI

Because fibroids are not always visible on ultrasound, an MRI may be performed to get more detail about the size, number, and location of all fibroids in the uterus. 

Our Locations

Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.

Fibroid Treatments

Uterine fibroids need treatment when they cause pain, heavy menstrual bleeding, or other symptoms or when they affect your fertility.

Medical Therapy

Medical therapy can ease pain and reduce bleeding and may help shrink large fibroids. There are several types of medications that can help. Your provider will discuss which may be appropriate for you, based on the size, number, and location of your fibroids.

Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE)

This nonsurgical, minimally invasive procedure -- also referred to as uterine artery embolization (UAE) involves injecting a fluid called polyvinyl alcohol into the artery that supplies blood to the fibroid. The fluid blocks blood flow and the fibroid begins to shrink and die. Uterine artery embolization is performed by an interventional radiologist.


Surgery to remove fibroids is called myomectomy. The procedure leaves your uterus in place and intact. 

  • Hysteroscopic Myomectomy: Depending on where in your uterus your fibroids are located, your doctor may be able to remove them through your cervix.
  • Abdominal Myomectomy: When your fibroids cannot be removed through your cervix, they may be removed through an incision on your abdomen. This is usually performed through an incision in the bikini area. When removing fibroids, our goal is to preserve as much healthy tissue as possible, to help you avoid fertility issues and pregnancy complications in the future.
  • Laparoscopic Myomectomy: Some of our surgeons specialize in performing myomectomies through small abdominal incisions using a laparoscope -- a device with a camera at its tip -- and tiny surgical tools. In some cases, laparoscopic procedures may involve robotic technologies. 


In women who don’t wish to bear children in the future, hysterectomy may be an appropriate option for symptomatic fibroids. Depending on the nature of your fibroids, you and your surgeon will decide upon the best approach. Sometimes this means an open incision in your lower abdomen. When possible, some of our surgeons use a minimally invasive approach to remove your uterus through small incisions in your abdomen. This results in less pain and a faster recovery when compared to surgeries performed with larger incisions.

Why Choose Duke

Tissue-Sparing Approach
We explore all nonsurgical and medical treatment options before recommending surgery or hysterectomy. Our minimally invasive surgical options and drug therapies are designed to spare healthy tissue and reproductive organs for women of childbearing age.

Personalized Care
We develop personalized treatment plans that take into account your age, goals, and stage of family planning. We offer a wide range of treatment options, including hormone therapies and noninvasive options. Together we choose the best option for you.

Research on New Therapies
Our dedicated researchers study fibroids and their causes and work to develop more effective, targeted treatments.

Best Hospital for Obstetrics and Gynecology in North Carolina

Where you receive your care matters. Duke University Hospital is proud of our team and the exceptional care they provide. That is why our obstetrics and gynecology program is nationally ranked, and is the highest-ranked program in North Carolina, according to U.S. News & World Report for 2023-2024.

This page was medically reviewed on 12/07/2021 by