WHAT ARE UTERINE FIBROIDS?
Uterine fibroids, also known as fibroid tumors or myomas, are benign growths that form inside the wall of the uterus. Though very rarely cancerous, uterine fibroids can cause an array of troublesome symptoms, including heavy or painful menstruation, bleeding between periods, pain in the abdomen and/or back, painful intercourse and pressure on the bladder or bowel that can create a feeling of urgency. In some cases, fibroids can cause reproductive complications such as early labor, miscarriage or infertility.
WHAT IS UTERINE FIBROID EMBOLIZATION?
Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) is a minimally invasive, non-surgical procedure that targets benign tumors in the uterus. UFE utilizes fluoroscopy, a specialized x-ray that produces real-time images, to guide a catheter to the uterine artery and deliver tiny, allergen-free embolic particles to fibroids, starving them of blood until they shrink. Nearly 90 percent of women who undergo UFE experience significant or complete resolution of their fibroid-related symptoms.
WHERE DO I GET UFE TREATMENT?
WHAT TO EXPECT
Once your clinician has diagnosed you with uterine fibroids, he or she will refer you to RAO’s Center for Vascular Health (CVH) for MRI and ultrasound imaging before UFE treatment. CVH’s Board Certified interventional radiologists have been performing safe and effective UFE procedures for over 20 years.
You may be advised to stop taking blood thinners including aspirin and NSAIDs a few days before your procedure to help limit bleeding.
You will be given a gentle sedative to help you feel relaxed and comfortable. After applying a topical anesthetic, your interventional radiologist will make a small incision in the skin where your leg meets your groin, through which a tiny catheter is guided to the femoral artery. Once the catheter is in place, miniscule particles are delivered to the appropriate blood vessels, denying nourishment to the fibroids so they diminish or disappear. The procedure usually takes 60 to 90 minutes from start to finish, and an overnight hospital stay is typically required. You may be advised to take it easy for a day or two.
Because UFE may interfere with fertility, it is not generally recommended for women who wish to become pregnant.