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What is Uterine Fibroid Embolization?
Uterine fibroid embolization is a minimally invasive procedure to treat Fibroids in the uterus. Fibroids are the non-cancerous tumors of the uterus which can cause heavy menstrual bleeding, prolonged periods, pain, pelvic pressure, and bloating.
Fibroids are seen in approximately 37% of women by the age of 40 years, and over 50 % of women by the age of 60 years.
How is the procedure performed?
Uterine Fibroid Embolization involves blocking the blood supply to the fibroids in the uterus, effectively reducing their size and the associated symptoms.
The procedure is performed by a trained Vascular Interventional Radiologist in a Cath lab. A small IV line is placed in an artery of the groin or wrist and a catheter is navigated to reach the uterine artery. The fibroids are then blocked by injecting 500-700 micron-sized microspheres.
The procedure does not require any incision. There is no injury or bleeding expected during or because of the procedure.
When is UFE recommended?
UFE is recognized as a safe & effective treatment for Uterine fibroids by the American College of Obstetrics & Gynecology (ACOG).
Unlike some fibroid treatments, UFE targets all the fibroids in the uterus.
UFE can also be used to treat pain & heavy bleeding associated with Adenomyosis.
Who should consider Uterine Fibroid Embolization?
Depending on the size and location of the fibroids, the patient can develop varied symptoms like- Menorrhagia, pelvic pain, heaviness, back & leg pain, infertility or recurrent pregnancy loss, and increased pressure on bowel/bladder leading to constipation / increased frequency of micturition.
These symptoms are very distressing and can adversely affect the quality of life.
UFE can be considered by those patients who are ineligible for traditional methods like- Myomectomy or Hysterectomy for various medical reasons like:
Being on blood thinners- increases the risk of bleeding from invasive procedures.
Other comorbidities like cardiac conditions could complicate the surgery.
Patient preference- not preferring to undergo traditional surgery. Too apprehensive to undergo open/lap surgeries.
The patient doesn’t want any scars and wants to preserve the uterus.
Provides improved patient comfort
Rapid return to normal activities
No multiple needle sticks
Minimal to no bruising
No stockings needed
Tests you're expected to undergo to plan for the UFE procedure
Routine pre-procedure fitness tests.
MRI Pelvis with contrast to determine the blood supply of the Fibroids.
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