Are you ready to visit one of our interventional radiologist physicians to discuss whether uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) may be a good treatment option for your uterine fibroids? If you’re like most women, you’ve probably already done some research into UFE.
Feeling prepared to discuss UFE with one of our interventional radiologist physicians can help eliminate some of the stress you may be experiencing. The questions/answers listed below are a good start to helping you understand why UFE is often recommended for the treatment of uterine fibroids, as well as to help you understand the benefits and risks.
How does UFE work?
Uterine fibroid embolization is typically an outpatient procedure performed under moderate (conscious) sedation. A catheter inserted through the groin or wrist is used to select the uterine arteries, and tiny particles are administered into the uterine arteries through the catheter to diminish the blood supply to the fibroids, thus causing them to shrink. Shrinkage of the fibroids then leads to improvement in or resolution of your symptoms.
How long does it take?
Uterine fibroid embolization typically takes approximately 90 minutes.
Will I go under anesthesia?
No. Uterine fibroid embolization is performed under moderate (conscious) sedation.
Will I have to stay in the hospital?
Uterine fibroid embolization is typically an outpatient procedure, and most patients go home the same day as their procedure.
How long is the normal recovery period?
Most patient are typically fully recovered from this procedure and feel back to their baseline after approximately 10 days.
Will my fibroids come back?
The only way to definitively get rid of uterine fibroids is by hysterectomy. After menopause, fibroids will shrink on their own owing to changes in hormone levels. Most patients treated with uterine artery embolization get good resolution of their fibroid-related symptoms without return of these symptoms secondary to return of fibroids. However, because uterine fibroid embolization doesn’t remove the uterus, there is the possibility of formation of new fibroids or growth of treated fibroids after the procedure. This is uncommon but is more common if the procedure is performed when the patient is younger and has a longer period of time until menopause.
How successful is UFE?
Uterine fibroid embolization is successful in approximately 90% of patients, especially if the main symptom is heavy bleeding.
What have your previous patients said about it?
Most patients are quite happy with the results of the uterine fibroid embolization. The most common immediate post-procedure side effect is crampy pelvic pain which usually resolves within 24 hours.
How many procedures have you performed?
I have performed dozens of uterine fibroid embolizations throughout fellowship training and in practice.
What are some side effects or complications after UFE?
The most common post-procedure side effect is crampy pelvic pain which usually resolves within 24 hours. Some patients may experience post-embolization syndrome a few days after the procedure, symptoms of which may include low-grade fever and fatigue. Complications include bleeding, infection, arterial injury, and non-target embolization.