Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE)

  • Description - Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat fibroid tumors of the uterus which can cause heavy menstrual bleeding, pain in the pelvic region and pressure on the bladder or bowel. Fibroid tumors are benign tumors that arise from the muscular walls of the uterus. It is extremely rare for them to turn cancerous. More commonly they cause the symptoms previously described. Because the effect of UFE on fertility is not fully understood , it is typically only an option for women who no longer wish to become pregnant or those who want or need to avoid a hysterectomy to remove the uterus.

  • The UFE  procedure uses a form of real time x-ray called fluoroscopy to guide the delivery of embolic agents to the uterus and fiboid tumors. These agents block the arteries providing blood flow to the fibroids causing them to shrink. Studies have demonstrated that nearly 90% of women undergoing UFE experience significant reduction or complete resolution of fibroid related symptoms.

 

  • Procedure Consultation- prior to scheduling your procedure a consultation appointment will be made with an ADI Interventional Radiology Professional (Radiologist, Physician's Assistant or Nurse Practioner) to provide you with information regarding all aspects of the outpatient UFE procedure including benefits and potential risks. Imaging of the uterus with ultrasound and/or MRI is performed prior to fully assess the the size, number location of the fibroids.

 

  • Procedure - The area of the body where the catheter is inserted its prepped, sterilized & numbed and a small incision made at the site. Using image guidance the catheter is inserted into the femoral artery and contrast is used to visulalize as it is manuevered to the uterine arteries. The embolic agent is released into the right and left uterine arteries, repositioning the catheter as needed. At the conclusion, the catheter is withdrawn and pressure applied to the introduction site. It is common to experience some cramping for several days following UFE and normal activity can usually be resumed within 1-2 weeks.

 

  • Preparation - You may be advised to stop taking aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) or blood thinnners for a specified period of time before your procedure. You should not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the procedure. Your physician will advise if medications may be taken the morning of the exam.