Uterine Fibroid Embolization
Uterine fibroids are benign tumors that develop within the muscular wall of the uterus. They are extremely common. Twenty to 40 percent of women over the age of 35 have uterine fibroids. Over 50 percent of African American women have fibroids. They are the most frequent indication for hysterectomy in premenopausal women. Of the 600,000 hysterectomies performed annually within the United States, one third is due to symptomatic fibroids.
Now there is a proven, non-surgical alternative to hysterectomy for the treatment of symptomatic uterine fibroids. It’s called uterine fibroid embolization (UFE).
At Triangle Interventional Services, uterine fibroid embolization, also known as uterine artery embolization, is performed by our interventional radiologist, a physician who is trained to perform this and other types of embolization and minimally invasive procedures. You are conscious, but sedated, so you feel no pain.
The interventional radiologist makes a tiny nick in the skin in the groin and inserts a catheter into the femoral artery. Using real-time imaging, the physician guides the catheter through the artery and then releases tiny particles, the size of grains of sand, into the uterine arteries that supply blood to the fibroid tumor. This blocks the blood flow to the fibroid tumor and causes it to shrink and die.
Non-steroidal medication (Motrin) and pain killers are prescribed for several days following the procedure. This helps to control pain and cramping. In addition, medication for nausea may be prescribed as needed. You can resume light activities in a few days and can return to normal activities within ten days. In comparison, recovery time after a hysterectomy is approximately six weeks.