Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat fibroids of the uterus. These fibroids can cause heavy menstrual bleeding, pain, and pressure on the bladder or bowel.
UFE blocks the blood flow to fibroids in order to treat the bleeding and pain associated with fibroids. Your interventional radiologist will thread a small catheter (flexible tube) into your uterine artery. Then, he will inject tiny particles (embolics) into the catheter. These particles will block the blood flow to the fibroids, which will help to shrink them.
Studies have shown that nearly 90 percent of patients who are treated with UFE experience significant relief from their fibroid-related symptoms.
Before your procedure
Prior to your procedure you will have a Pap smear and an endometrial biopsy performed at your gynecologist’s office. You will also have an MRI. These tests are to make sure that there is nothing else causing your symptoms besides your fibroids.
On the day of the procedure, you will have an IV line placed in your arm. You may get medication through your IV that will make you feel drowsy. The medication will control pain and anxiety. You may need to have a urinary catheter placed at the beginning of the procedure.
During your procedure
An artery in your groin or wrist will be chosen using ultrasound-guidance. The area will be cleaned and numbed with local anesthetic (lidocaine/novocaine).
The interventional radiologist will guide the catheter into both the left and right uterine arteries using fluoroscopy (video x-ray). He will then use dye to confirm that the catheter is in the correct place. Once the catheter is in place, the interventional radiologist will inject the particles until he sees that the blood flow to the fibroids has been adequately stopped.
At the end of the procedure, the catheter will be removed and the site will be covered with a dressing.
After your procedure
You will stay in our recovery area for between 2 and 4 hours to make sure you are fully awake and feeling well following the procedure. Additionally, if we access through an artery in your groin, you will need to lay down while you are in the recovery area and keep that leg straight.
You may experience “post-embolization syndrome,” which can include the following symptoms:
Nausea and/or vomiting
Pain is the most common side effect that can occur, because the blood supply to the treated area is cut off
These side effects usually improve within 3 to 5 days and may be improved with medication
You may also experience a low-grade fever, lethargy and fatigue that could last up to 1 week
You should tell your doctor if these symptoms last more than 10 days
Do not get the access site wet for 24 hours. After 24 hours, you can shower, but should still avoid getting the site wet. You should not take a bath or swim for at least 7 days.
For 5 days after your procedure, don’t lift anything heavier than 10 pounds and do not engage in any rigorous exercise. You may do usual light activities after 24 hours.
Call Your Doctor if you have:
A fever of 100.4° F (38° C) or higher.
Pain, nausea, or vomiting that is uncontrolled.
Redness, swelling, or bleeding around the procedure site.
Any symptoms that are worrying you.
Our mission at NY Imaging Specialists is to provide the highest-quality advanced imaging in a patient-centered and compassionate environment, with the comfort and convenience of being close to home.
To schedule an appointment by phone call 833-269-4624.