What is Uterine Fibroid Embolization?
Uterine Fibroid Embolization, or UFE, is an alternative to surgery for uterine fibroids. UFE is a minimally invasive-image guided procedure performed by an interventional radiologist or fibroid specialist. If you are experiencing heavy menstrual bleeding, frequent urination, pain during sexual intercourse, or pelvic pain, UFE can significantly improve or eliminate your fibroid symptoms. The American Fibroid Centers’ affiliated physicians have years of experience with UFE and have helped women live more comfortable and pain-free lives.
UFE is a revolutionary option for women who suffer from fibroids but don’t want to undergo major surgery with an extensive recovery period. It also gives women the choice to get pregnant in the future, since the uterus remains intact. After UFE, your fibroids will shrink and your toughest symptoms can disappear. UFE has a success rate of approximately 85% and, compared with hysterectomies, the procedure has a faster recovery time, no hospital stay, and fewer complications.
Benefits of Uterine Fibroid Embolization
Uterine Fibroid Embolization offers several benefits to patients seeking alternatives to major surgery, like hysterectomy and myomectomy. UFE is a safe and effective treatment for all types of fibroids, regardless of their size, number, and location. The main benefits of UFE include:
- Keeps the uterus intact
- Less invasive than surgery
- No scarring
- Lower risk of complications
- Quicker recovery time
- Significantly reduces fibroid symptoms
Candidates for Uterine Fibroid Embolization
It’s important to talk to a fibroid specialist about all of your treatment options before deciding to undergo uterine fibroid embolization. UFE is a relatively low-risk procedure and can be used for both small and large fibroids. You may be a candidate for UFE if:
- You are experiencing painful or debilitating fibroid symptoms
- You do not wish to undergo invasive surgery
- You want to retain your uterus
- You want to reduce time away from work and family
- You wish to become pregnant in the future
- You are perimenopausal
How to Prepare for Uterine Fibroid Embolization
Generally, there is no specific preparation needed for uterine fibroid embolization. Your doctor will discuss the procedure with you, including risks, benefits, and other options. If you decide to undergo UFE, you should do the following to ensure the best possible results:
- Tell your doctor about any known allergies, such as anesthesia
- Make a list of all current medications and supplements that you take
- Note any recent illnesses or other medical conditions
- Do not eat or drink anything 6 to 8 hours before the procedure
- Arrange for someone to drive you home
How is UFE Performed?
Uterine fibroid embolization is performed as an outpatient procedure at one of our state-of-the-art facilities in NY or NJ. Our affiliated fibroid specialists are experts in performing minimally invasive UFE procedures. Before the procedure, you’ll receive local anesthesia and conscious IV sedation to help you relax and ensure that you’re comfortable during the procedure. Your specialist will then make a small incision in the wrist or groin. Using direct image guidance, with ultrasound and fluoroscopy, one of our American Fibroid Centers affiliated physicians inserts a thin catheter into the artery at the top of your wrist or groin and guides it to the uterine artery.
Once the physician locates the blood supply to the fibroids, he or she injects tiny particles (the size of a grain of sand) in a controlled manner, directly into the small blood vessels that “feed” the fibroids. The particles block the blood flow, causing the fibroids to starve of oxygen and nutrients. After the procedure is complete, you will be monitored for a short period in our on-site recovery room. You will be given detailed instructions before you leave. Follow-up exams will also be scheduled to track your progress.
What to Expect After UFE
After your UFE procedure, you can expect to feel better each day. Fibroid symptoms typically dissipate within the first three months after the procedure is performed. Your next few menstrual cycles may be heavier than normal. Additionally, some women may pass fibroid tissue during this three-month period.
Most women recover from UFE without any complications, and they are able to get back to their normal routine within a week to 10 days. About 85-90% of women who undergo UFE get relief from their symptoms, and their fibroids shrink measurably. You will follow up with your doctor after the procedure and may receive a follow up ultrasound or MRI to monitor the healing process.
Our Fibroid Specialists
Our affiliated physicians at American Fibroid Centers are board certified and have years of experience treating women with fibroids. They are committed to providing high-quality, comprehensive care for your condition in a safe and comforting environment. Meet with one of our fibroid specialists in NY or NJ to get relief for your fibroid symptoms.
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.