A Non-Surgical Treatment for Uterine Fibroid
Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) is a safe and effective alternative to surgery. A non-surgical, uterus sparing treatment, UFE blocks the blood supply to the fibroids causing them to shrink. UFE is clinically proven successful in reducing the major symptoms of fibroids, including pain, excessive and prolonged bleeding, and frequent urination. UFE is minimally invasive, requiring only a small incision in the skin. The procedure lasts approximately two hours, and most patients are back to work within one to two weeks.
Uterine Fibroid Embolization Procedure
UFE is performed by an Interventional Radiologist (IR), a physician who specializes in minimally invasive, imaging-guided techniques. It is performed in a dedicated interventional suite with specialized nurses and technical staff. The procedure is performed using local anesthesia and mild intravenous sedation. The physician inserts a small tube called a catheter through a very small incision into an artery at the top of the thigh. Using imaging, the catheter is guided into the uterine artery. Then tiny round particles, know as microspheres, are injected through the catheter into the blood vessels leading to the fibroids. The microspheres block blood flow to the fibroids resulting in both fibroid shrinkage and symptom relief. The microspheres remain permanently in the blood vessels at the fibroid site. The UFE procedure takes about two hours to complete and requires an overnight hospital stay.
Benefits of Uterine Fibroid Embolization
- Preserves the uterus without surgical risks or need for hormone replacement therapy.
- Reduces menstrual bleeding from symptomatic fibroids.
- Decrease in pelvic pain and pressure.
- Smaller abdomen.
- Improvement in urinary symptoms.
- Covered by most insurance companies.
- Shorter hospital stays than for hysterectomy.
- Quicker return to normal activities or work than hysterectomy.
- Overall significant improvement in patient’s physical and emotional well-being.
Are women satisfied with the results of Uterine Fibroid Embolization?
In clinical studies involving thousands of patients in the United States, Canada and Europe, 85-90 percent of women who underwent UFE had significant reduction in symptoms related to menstrual bleeding and pelvic pain. Ninety to 95 percent of women treated by UFE reported being satisfied with the results.
What are the risks associated with Uterine Fibroid Embolization?
As with any procedure, there are some risks associated with UFE, but overall UFE is a safe procedure for treating symptomatic fibroids. Infrequent complications have been reported following UFE. Your doctor will explain any risks associated with the treatment.