Peter Weidenfeld, M.D. is an interventional radiologist at Red Rock Radiology in Las Vegas. He’s been in practice for eight years and has returned to the community in which he was raised to work. Not infrequently, a patient he is treating will be someone who knows his larger family and remembers Weidenfeld as a youngster. Fibroids1 appreciates Dr. Weidenfeld’s remarks on a subject about which he clearly is passionate: Interventional radiology and its application in the treatment of uterine fibroids.
See Dr. Weidenfeld's office information.
Read an interview with one of Dr. Weidenfield's patients.
Fibroids1: Why did you go into the field of interventional radiology?
Dr. Weidenfeld: I very much enjoyed the high-tech aspect of radiology in general with all the equipment and advances that had been made by the time I was going through school. Still, I didn’t want to give up patient contact. I saw there was a balance in interventional radiology, so it was a perfect mix for me.
I think interventional radiology is revolutionizing our approach to medicine – converting what used to be invasive open surgery into using minimally invasive techniques to accomplish the same goal. It’s quite interesting being on the cutting edge because new procedures are developed continually. The equipment keeps getting better, smaller and less invasive.
It’s quite gratifying to see problems like fibroids that used to require major surgery treated on an out-patient basis with women up and walking in several hours, and going home that same day. It’s truly a fascinating field.
Fibroids1: Why have you developed your sub-specialty in uterine fibroid embolization?
Dr. Weidenfeld: When I started out in practice, one of my partners trained under Scott Goodwin who first brought the procedure to the states from Europe in 1995. He opened my eyes to the fact that our community was underserved because not enough interventional radiologists were offering the embolization procedure.
So I started working in that area alongside my partner and after he moved from Las Vegas, I picked up the mantle. It’s been exciting to watch the practice grow as the community of women with fibroids becomes aware of this very viable option.
I also enjoy being able to see patients with fibroids over the longer term and follow their progress. We have a consultation prior to the embolization procedure itself, we monitor their recovery by phone or with office visits if necessary, and then we see them again at six months. It’s nice to get the feedback that our hard work is benefiting them.
I also enjoy participating in other aspects of women’s diagnostic imaging—mammography and MRI guided breast intervention. Breast MRI, in particular, is a relatively new application of the modality that is quite sensitive in the detection of breast cancer. There are lesions that can only be seen with this technology, and we can do the biopsy with the patient on the MRI table using the MR images for guidance. So the ability to both diagnose and sample these lesions has increased significantly, expanding our ability to treat cancer.
Fibroids1: What questions do patients most often ask?
Dr. Weidenfeld: The most frequent question I hear is “will this treatment take care of my symptoms and will I feel better?”
The symptoms they are generally referring to include: Heavy bleeding, cramping, abdominal bloating and frequency of urination. I say “yes, it will.” We have a 90 percent success rate.
I do tell them that it will take several weeks to months to have the maximum relief since it takes time once the blood supply is cut off from the fibroids. Uterine fibroid embolization doesn’t eliminate the fibroids. Instead it shrinks them up to 50 percent of their original size, in the process providing relief from the symptoms.
I want to make sure my patients understand their options, though, so I generally refer them to their gynecologist to have their surgical choices explained to them by someone who would do the surgical procedure. Once they are fully informed, then they can make an educated decision about how they wish to proceed. Education is power. I want to make sure they are completely educated about their options before they make their decision.
Fibroids1: How is your relationship with the gynecologists in your area?
Dr. Weidenfeld: We work with a core of gynecologists that are enlightened. They realize that embolization is a viable option that should be offered to all appropriate patients, and we have a referral base from them. Ours is a great community in which to work because our gyns and interventional radiologists are always trying to do the best for the patient.
Visit the Red Rock Radiology Web site, www.redrockradiology.com.