Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) is a less invasive procedure for the treatment of uterine fibroids that preserves the uterus. It is considered a safe procedure with minimal risk and is an alternative to hysterectomy.
This procedure is designed to block the blood supply to uterine fibroids, causing them to shrink. Ideal candidates include women who...
This procedure lasts approximately 60-90 minutes and requires only a small incision into the femoral artery. Most patients will either go home after the procedure or stay one night in the hospital. The procedure is performed by an Interventional Radiologist.
Your Interventional Radiologist will explain pre-procedure tests, discuss any allergies and decide what type of sedation will work best for you. Most doctors use conscious sedation, which means you will be awake but will feel groggy.
After you arrive at the hospital, you will be prepped by the Radiology staff. This includes sedation and other medication to help manage post-procedure effects. Once you feel sleepy you will be moved to the Radiology Suite where the fibroid treatment will be performed.
Uterine fibroid embolization is a minimally invasive procedure that is performed by an Interventional Radiologist (IR), a medical doctor with extensive experience in minimally invasive procedures.
The procedure begins with a tiny incision in the femoral artery in the upper thigh. Using specialized X-ray equipment, the doctor guides a catheter to the location of the fibroid tumor.
Embolic material (small spheres) is injected into the blood flow leading to the fibroids to deprive it of the blood and oxygen it needs to grow. This results in fibroids shrinking. The embolic material remains permanently in the blood vessels at the fibroid site.
The catheter is then moved to the other side of the uterus, and the same procedure is performed. The incision is then closed.
Most women experience some abdominal pain or cramping shortly after this treatment. Your doctor will prescribe medications to keep you comfortable. Some patients may experience “post-embolization syndrome” within a few hours or up to a few days after treatment. This is described as having flu-like symptoms, such as a low grade fever, malaise (a vague feeling of discomfort), and mild nausea.
Once you are ready for discharge, you will receive instructions regarding medications and when you can return to normal activities. You will be advised who to call if you have further questions.
Most women are able to return to light activity within a few days and are usually back to work and normal activity on average, within 11 days. Post-procedure appointments are at one week and three months.