University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Department of Radiology
Home
Physicians
Online Forms
Practice Resources
Frequent Questions
 Thursday
 04/24/2014

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas - Learn More...
Uterine Fibroid Embolization Vertebroplasty
Uterine Fibroid Embolization Uterine Fibroid Embolization
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
Varicose Veins Varicose Veins
Varicose Veins Radio Frequency Ablation

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center @ Dallas

The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center @ Dallas University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
Sirtex Medical Sirtex Medical



Uterine Fibroid Embolization
 
This is an abbreviated version of the complete article.*
Basic Facts
Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) is a safe, effective, nonsurgical treatment for fibroids.
UFE works by blocking the blood supply to the fibroid, causing it to shrink and become inactive.
This minimally invasive procedure involves only a small puncture in the skin.
Numerous studies now show the effectiveness of UFE.
Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) is a relatively new treatment for benign tumors (fibroids) that grow in or on the uterus. UFE works by blocking the blood supply to the fibroid, causing it to shrink and become inactive.

There are several types of fibroids. Subserosal fibroids may have an increased risk of complications from UFE.
There are several types of fibroids. Subserosal fibroids may have an increased risk of complications from UFE.
Unlike other treatment methods for uterine fibroids that may cause side effects or require an extended hospital stay, UFE is a minimally invasive procedure that requires a relatively short recovery time and has few side effects.

UFE is still somewhat controversial, since long-term outcomes of the procedure have not been determined. While most insurance companies cover the procedure, some still do not.

The procedure is not recommended for all women. Physicians typically require that candidates meet the following criteria:
  • Have completed childbearing
  • Have not gone through menopause
  • Have symptomatic uterine fibroids, with excessive or prolonged bleeding, pain, urinary frequency or urgency, or loss of bladder control
  • Have a strong desire to avoid a hysterectomy
THE PROCEDURE

Prior to the procedure, intravenous antibiotics and a sedative are given to the patient; and a local anesthetic is administered to numb the groin area. During the procedure, which is viewed by an x-ray technique called fluoroscopy, an interventional radiologist inserts a needle into the femoral artery, providing access for a catheter to be guided to the uterine artery. The interventional radiologist then injects a dye into the artery to view the blood supply to the fibroids. This technique, called an arteriogram, provides a "map" of the blood supply. Once the interventional radiologist completes the arteriogram, synthetic particles the size of grains of sand are slowly injected into the artery. The particles flow toward the fibroids and wedge in the vessels that supply them with blood. This procedure, called embolization, continues for several minutes until there is blockage of blood flow to the fibroids. The procedure takes approximately one hour.

POST PROCEDURE

Following the procedure, the patient may expect:
  • A one-night hospital stay
  • 6 to 12 hours of pronounced cramping (treated with oral or intravenous medications)
  • Possible cramps that may last one week
  • Fever and nausea
  • Full recovery in one week
SIDE EFFECTS

Fever and fatigue are the expected side effects during the first week. Complications affect fewer than four percent of patients, and serious complications are very rare. The procedure may pose long-term complications that make childbearing or full-term pregnancy difficult. Women who have undergone UFE have had successful pregnancies, but long-term studies are limited and information is lacking on this subject.

Copyright © 2014 NorthPoint Domain, Inc. All rights reserved.
This material cannot be reproduced in digital or printed form without the express consent of NorthPoint Domain, Inc. Unauthorized copying or distribution of NorthPoint Domain's Content is an infringement of the copyright holder's rights.




Medical Glossary
Word to look up:

The results will appear in a new window.



Terms and Conditions | Feedback | Privacy Statement
Developed and hosted by Vascular Domain.
© Copyright 2000-2014. NorthPoint Domain Inc. All rights reserved.
ICS-PR-WEB01