Uterine Fibroid Embolization
Almost all fibroids receive their blood supply from the uterine arteries. Embolization is a term that means to stop or block the flow of blood.
Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE), also called uterine artery embolization, is a minimally invasive procedure that blocks blood flow to fibroids without injury to the uterus, which has other blood flow sources.
Treatment of fibroids by embolization is relatively new; however, uterine embolization has been successfully used for 20 years to treat heavy bleeding after childbirth.
The Uterine Fibroid Embolization program at Magee combines the expertise of board-certified gynecologists and interventional radiologists with extensive experience in this minimally invasive procedure. These specialists offer consultation services for women seeking information on UFE as a treatment option for uterine fibroids.
What to Expect During UFE
During your UFE procedure, an interventional radiologist:
- Inserts a catheter into an artery in the groin.
- Threads the catheter into the uterine arteries.
- Introduces tiny plastic particles through the catheter to obstruct the blood flow. The lack of blood supply to the fibroids may cause them to shrink by as much as 65 percent.
Relief From Symptoms of Fibroid Tumors
Candidates for UFE are often premenopausal women experiencing symptoms from fibroid tumors, such as:
- Irregular or heavy bleeding
- Pelvic pressure or fullness
While most women get complete relief or significant improvement in their symptoms, up to 20 percent of women may still have symptoms after embolization.
The effects of UFE on fertility are not yet known, therefore we do not recommend this procedure for women who may wish to experience pregnancy in the future.