For more information on uterine fibroid embolization, please visit our Interventional Radiology section.
Uterine fibroids are benign (noncancerous) growths that develop in the muscular wall of the uterus. It is the most common pelvic tumor in women occurring in 20-40 percent of women older than 35.
Fibroids can cause abnormal uterine bleeding as well as bulk-related symptoms (pelvic pain, pressure, frequent urination, painful intercourse and infertility).
Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) is now offered as an alternative to hysterectomy or myomectomy (surgical resection of individual fibroids). UFE is an outpatient procedure performed by an interventional radiologist.
A small nick in the groin is made and a catheter is inserted into the femoral artery. The catheter is then manipulated into the arteries supplying the fibroids.
Tiny particles are injected into these arteries to cut off the blood supply to the fibroids. The procedure is all done via the catheter and is performed while the patient is conscious although sedated.
Recovery time is minimal—patients can return to normal activities in as little as two days. Numerous studies have shown that 81-94 percent of patients will experience significant or total relief of the original symptoms.
Patients who are potential candidates for this procedure should discuss the procedure with their gynecologist as well as an interventional radiologist.