Uterine Fibroid Embolization
Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) is a minimally invasive treatment for uterine fibroids, noncancerous growths in the uterus. During the procedure, you are given a medication to relax you, but will remain awake. An interventional radiologist (IR) uses a slender, flexible tube (catheter) to inject particles (embolic agents) into the uterine arteries, which supply blood to your fibroids and uterus. The goal is to block the fibroid blood vessels, starving the fibroids and causing them to shrink and thereby relieve symptoms. The procedure was introduced in the U.S. in 1997 and is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is covered by most insurance plans.
Reasons UFE Would Be Right for You
- Heavy/prolonged menstrual bleeding
- Severe menstrual cramping
- Pelvic pressure , discomfort, excessive bloating or fullness, particularly perimenstrual or bothersome abdominal wall distortion, caused by enlarged uterus.
- Pelvic pain related to identified non-cancerous growth, including pain with sexual intercourse.
- Urinary urgency, frequency, increased urination at night, or retention related to enlarged uterus.
- Issues with your kidneys caused by enlarged uterus.
Risks Associated with UFE
UFE is a safe procedure for treating symptomatic fibroids with minimal risk. The most reported risk factors and complications associated with the procedure are transient amenorrhea (temporary absence of menstrual period,) short-term allergic reaction/rash, vaginal discharge/infection, mis-targeted embolization (when the embolic agent reaches healthy tissue), possible fibroid passage, and post-embolization syndrome, which can include low-grade fever, pain, fatigue, nausea and vomiting.
You should talk with your doctor about the risks associated with UFE especially if you have bleeding problems, kidney disease or severe contrast medium allergy.
For more information, call 661.200.1650