What is Uterine Artery Embolization?
Uterine Artery Embolization, or UAE, is an alternative to traditional surgery for the treatment of adenomyosis. UAE is a minimally invasive-image guided procedure performed by a board-certified interventional radiologist. Uterine Artery Embolization and Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) are used interchangeably. UFE is commonly used to treat symptomatic uterine fibroids. The principle of the procedures is the same, but when no fibroids are present and the patient only has adenomyosis, UAE is the correct term.
At American Fibroid Centers, our affiliated physicians are highly trained in UAE to help patients find relief from their adenomyosis symptoms. This procedure is a great option for women who do not wish to undergo major surgery, such as a hysterectomy. UAE requires no hospital stay and offers less recovery time and fewer complications since it only involves a small incision. Because the uterus and ovaries are preserved, it also gives women the option to get pregnant in the future. UAE has a clinical success rate of approximately 75-80%, allowing patients to experience significant improvement in their pain and discomfort and enjoy life as it was before adenomyosis.
Benefits of Uterine Artery Embolization
Uterine Artery Embolization provides patients with a wide range of benefits over traditional surgery. Regardless of the stage and severity of your adenomyosis, UAE is a safe and effective procedure used by our team of affiliated physicians to get your health back on track. The main benefits of UAE include:
- Safer alternative to surgery
- Uterus remains intact
- No hospital stay required
- Shorter recovery time
- Fewer complications
- Effectively reduces adenomyosis symptoms
Candidates for Uterine Artery Embolization
Women with adenomyosis who have painful and debilitating symptoms should consider the UAE procedure. UAE is relatively low-risk and noninvasive, so you will be able to go home the same day. It is important to talk with a specialist about all the treatment options available before deciding to undergo UAE. You may be a candidate for UAE if:
- You are experiencing severe adenomyosis symptoms
- You want to keep your uterus intact
- You want to avoid invasive surgery
- You are planning to become pregnant in the future
- You want to minimize recovery time and risk of complications
How to Prepare for Uterine Artery Embolization
There are no specific instructions on how to prepare for Uterine Artery Embolization. Your doctor will explain the procedure to you, including risks, benefits, and other options. It is important to ask any questions you have about UAE beforehand. If you decide to undergo UAE, you should do the following to ensure the best possible results:
- Receive a physical exam, including any blood work or other tests, to make sure you are in good health
- Tell your doctor about any medications or supplements you are taking
- Make a list of any recent illnesses or surgeries, as well as any other medical conditions
- Do not eat or drink anything for at least 8 hours before your scheduled procedure
- Arrange for someone to drive you home from the outpatient center
How is UAE Performed?
Uterine Artery Embolization is performed by an affiliated interventional radiologist at our state-of-the-art offices in New York and New Jersey. This procedure is done in an outpatient setting, so you should arrange for someone to drive you home afterward. Before the procedure, you’ll receive a local anesthetic and conscious IV sedation to help you stay relaxed throughout the process. During UAE, an adenomyosis specialist will use ultrasound to guide a needle and catheter into the larger artery in your leg (femoral artery) or a small artery in your left wrist (radial artery).
Using real-time fluoroscopic guidance, the catheter is then moved into specific arteries of the uterus. Your specialist will inject tiny embolic beads, in a controlled manner, into the uterine arteries to displace the endometrial tissue causing the adenomyosis. Once the needle and catheter are removed, a bandage is placed on the entry site – no stitches required. Your specialist will monitor you for a short period after the procedure in our separate recovery room. They will also give you postoperative instructions and schedule a follow-up appointment to track your progress.
What to Expect After UAE
By three months after the UAE procedure, most patients feel relief from their uterine fibroid or adenomyosis pain and related issues. During this time, menstruation typically returns to normal. You will have a follow-up visit with your doctor to get an ultrasound and MRI of your uterus to see how well the procedure worked.
The majority of patients recover from UAE without any complications and are able to go back to normal activities within two weeks. About 75-80% of women who undergo UAE see improvement in their symptoms, from painful periods and heavy menstrual bleeding to abdominal pressure and bloating.
Our Adenomyosis Specialists
Our affiliated physicians in NY and NJ are board-certified, highly skilled interventional radiologists who are dedicated to providing patients with comprehensive adenomyosis care. Meet with one of them at your nearest location to get the treatment you need in a safe and comfortable outpatient setting today!
What Our Patients Are Saying
Learn more about our patients’ experiences at American Fibroid Centers.
From the Experts
Get to know more about the symptoms, causes, treatment, and care of Uterine Fibroids.