Health they say is wealth, and to live comfortably in good health, one must have a good health plan and take necessary precautions to avoid major health setbacks.
There are some illnesses, although beyond our control such as the Uterine Fibroid, commonly known as Fibroid that can alter our day-to-day activities if not taken care of. The cost of getting fibroid surgery in Canada can leave a hole in the pocket if you don’t have insurance.
Fibroids are non-cancerous tumours that grow within or outside the uterine wall. Their sizes range from as small as a pea to as large as a grapefruit. They are commonly found in older women who are steering close to their reproductive year and they often shrink after menopause.
Currently, there is no known cause of fibroids. Fibroids oftentimes come without symptoms and they are usually considered to be harmless. But if they are accompanied by severe pain and infertility problems, there is a need for them to be taken out.
Some of the problems that Fibroid cause in the body include:
- Long, heavy menstrual periods with excessive bleeding that may cause anaemia
- Problems with urination and constipation
- Pain during intercourse
In severe cases, a fibroid may cause;
- Problems with fertility
- Repeated miscarriages
Not until recently, doctors in Canada usually recommend a hysterectomy for women with severe fibroids that caused excessive bleeding. Fibroids are responsible for an estimated one-third of the 60,000 hysterectomies performed in Canada each year.
Now, there are alternatives for treating fibroids other than a hysterectomy. They include;
- Uterine Fibroid Embolization
- Focused Ultrasound Treatment
However, it may be difficult to find a surgeon who can perform these alternatives in Canada. You would have to enquire from a fertility specialist or radiologist to know if the procedure is available in your province in Canada.
Cost of Getting Fibroid Surgery in Canada
The cost of getting a fibroid surgery in Canada depends on some factors which are;
- Your healthcare provider
- The province you reside in
- Your insurance provider
- The Operating Surgeon
Fibroid treatment is covered by health insurance, this is when patients under severe pain and has other major symptoms that could affect their life. Note that some insurance company only cover invasive treatment like fibroid removal or hysterectomy, this is after conventional management of the fibroid has failed. While for some insurance company, certain fibroids treatments are investigational before they can be covered.
For patients covered by health insurance, out-of-pocket cost includes a doctor’s visit copay, a hospital copay, prescription drug copay and coinsurance of 10-50% for procedures. While for patients without health insurance, the average amount for treatment without prescription drugs is between CA$20 monthly to CA$240 yearly and CA$6,000 in total for a six-month treatment.
Treatment for fibroids can range from watchful waiting to using drugs to manage it, then hysterectomy. The type of treatment to be recommended depends on the following:
- The number and size of the fibroids
- Age of the patient
- The severity of the symptoms
Fibroids treatment with surgery either removal of the fibroids or the uterus costs an average of CA$10,000 to CA$20,000 and above. A hysterectomy cost an average of CA$10,000 to CA$20,000 and above.
Outside the initial payment that covers the procedure for the fibroid treatment, a patient might incur other expenses like Periodic pelvic exams and Imaging test like pelvic ultrasounds. The average cost of a periodic pelvic exam is around CA$100 – CA$250, while for a pelvic ultrasound is around CA$500.
Fibroid Treatments in Canada
There are different types of treatment procedures involved when treating fibroid. And the risk involved depends largely on the procedure recommended and the type the patient opted for.
Medications or devices commonly used for fibroid treatment include:
- Birth control pills
- A progestin-releasing IUD
- Medications that reduce estrogen and progesterone levels
For less invasive fibroid treatment procedure may include uterine artery embolization. This procedure requires a doctor to inject material that will block the arteries the supply blood to the fibroids. A laser, heat or freezing can be used to destroy the lining of the uterus or the fibroids – endometrial ablation or myolysis.
- Abdominal Hysterectomy
This is the most common fibroid treatment procedure offered in Canada with over 100 performed daily. This procedure involves the removal of all or part of the uterus and may or may not include the removal of the ovaries. It used to be the only option in the treatment of fibroids before the advent of other procedures.
Although Hysterectomy is not for women who are still bearing children or who want to bear children in the future, yet, it is the most effective Fibroid treatment. With this procedure, there won’t be an organ for the fibroids to re-grow, sadly, the procedure has major risks of complication due to the use of general anaesthesia.
Due to the invasiveness of the procedure, blood loss, pain and infections are some of the complications that come with abdominal hysterectomy. The recovery period is long, around 2 – 6 weeks. The procedure cost about CA$7,741 without the surgeon’s fee.
- Abdominal Myomectomy
This procedure removes the fibroids while preserving the uterus. For patients who are still looking to birth children in future, this procedure is their best bet.
Although the procedure is very effective, sadly the fibroids can re-grow. Abdominal Myomectomy is less invasive and the recovery period is shorter compared to abdominal hysterectomy. Surgical procedure for Myomectomy includes Hysteroscopy, Laparoscopy and Laparotomy.
- Uterine Fibroid Embolization
This is a minimally invasive fibroid treatment that does not require surgery. A catheter is used to inject particles that block blood from getting to your fibroids and causes them to shrink. This is an outpatient procedure that leaves your uterus intact, it does not take time and it retains your fertility.
- Focused Ultrasound Treatment
This is the most recent development in the treatment of fibroids. It can only be carried out by a specialised radiologist. In this procedure, an MRI scan is used to guide an ultrasound transducer to deliver sound waves. The sound waves to heat and destroy small areas of fibroid tissues.
This procedure shrinks fibroids, preserves fertility and the recovery time for this procedure is short. However, the long-term effects of this procedure are yet to be known as clinical trials are still underway. The only clinic that offers this service is the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, Canada.
Remember, the treatment best suitable for your case will be recommended by your physician. You can always check with your healthcare provider if you have any worries and questions concerning the best treatment for you.