Uterine Fibroid Embolization

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Uterine Fibroid Embolization

Uterine Fibroid Embolization is the only non-surgical procedure to date, that can be done to remove fibroids.

So what exactly is UFE? How does it work? Does it work? And…is it painful?

UFE is an outpatient procedure that begins with the use of conscious sedation ( an IV of a light sedative) to help you to relax and remain pain-free during the UFE procedure.

Once the sedating medicine has been administered, an expert radiologist will make a teeny tiny nick in the skin ( about the size of the tip of a pencil).

They will then thread a tiny 2mm catheter through the groin or wrist. Using moving X-ray technology (fluoroscopy), the interventional radiologist guides the catheter through the artery to the uterus.

Once it reaches the artery that supplies blood to the fibroids, the catheter is used to release tiny gelatin beads into the blood vessels, creating a blockage. This blockage cuts off the blood supply to the fibroids. And, without the fibroids being able to receive vital nutrients through the blood, they can not survive. Therefore, the fibroids shrink until they are altogether eliminated.

You might be thinking, that’s interesting and makes sense, but does it work? And what does it feel like afterward?

Immediately following the procedure, it is normal to experience some pelvic pain and pressure from the procedure. Sometimes this is accompanied by an overall feeling of malaise and decreased energy levels. Basically, you might feel like you have a cold or the flu. Fortunately, these symptoms do not last long and can be easily treated with pain medicine and anti-nausea medication, which the doctor will provide.

Though there are no restrictions after the procedure, most studies have found that it takes on average, between 9 and 12 days to fully recover. Of course, the exact recovery time varies from person to person based on numerous factors such as the size of the fibroids, the number of fibroids, and the severity of pre-UFE symptoms. In general, women who undergo UFE should plan for roughly 1 to 2 weeks of recovery before returning to all of their normal activities.

Post-procedure, the fibroids targeted during UFE commonly continue to shrink for 6-9 months or longer. As the fibroids continue to shrink, it is normal to experience some bleeding in-between cycles for the first few weeks. And, the first period following the procedure is likely to be heavier and more uncomfortable than usual- but this is temporary.

In fact, research has shown that approximately 85-90% of women achieve relief from their symptoms after UFE. In fact, UFE is so effective, that less than 2% of patients will require repeated treatment.

The bottom line, is if you are suffering from the painful and life-interrupting symptoms of fibroids, it’s worthwhile to look into UFE.

UFE is a very effective treatment and is performed by our expert radiologist here at MidAtlantic Fibroid Care.

So call us today and see if UFE is right for you.

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