What Is Uterine Artery Embolization?
Uterine artery embolization is a minimally invasive, short (under one hour), safe and effective treatment for uterine fibroids in which the uterus and fertility are preserved. The procedure destroys fibroid tissue and eases symptoms, especially heavy bleeding and abdominal swelling. The procedure causes fibroids to shrink and soften, but it doesn’t make them disappear.
Uterine artery embolization takes advantage of physiological changes caused by uterine fibroids. A uterus with fibroids has more small blood vessels than does a normal uterus because fibroids stimulate formation of new blood vessels to the tumors.
During the procedure, the interventional radiologist uses a slender, flexible tube (catheter) to inject small particles (embolic agents) into the small blood vessels (uterine arteries) that lead to the fibroids.
The embolic agents block these arteries, starving the fibroids and causing them to die. The procedure is performed using imaging techniques to guide the procedure. Medications are given to keep the patient comfortable.
What Are Uterine Fibroids?
Uterine fibroids are muscular, usually benign tumors that grow in the wall of the uterus. There may be only one or there may be many, and they can be very small or as large as grapefruits.
The Only Female UFE Physician In Broward County
Meet Linda Hughes, MD, who is Broward County’s only female physician offering uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) treatment. Dr. Hughes is available at both Palm Vascular Centers’ locations. Book your appointment on our Appointments webpage, or complete the form on the lower left.
Abnormal menstrual bleeding, such as:
- Heavier, prolonged periods that can cause anemia.
- Painful periods.
- Spotting before or after periods.
- Bleeding between periods.
Pelvic pain and pressure, such as:
- Pain in the abdomen, pelvis, or low back.
- Pain during sexual intercourse.
- Bloating and feelings of abdominal pressure.
Urinary problems, such as:
- Frequency urination.
- Leakage of urine (urinary incontinence).
- Kidney blockage following ureter blockage (rare).
Other symptoms, such as:
- Difficulty or pain with bowel movements.
- Infertility. Sometimes, fibroids make it difficult to become pregnant.
- Problems with pregnancy, such as placental abruption and premature labor.
UFE Treatment Center
Our Uterine Fibroid Vascular Treatment centers are fully equipped and staffed by board certified interventional radiologists.
What Are Treatment Options for Uterine Fibroids?
Treatment options include uterine artery embolization (also called uterine fibroid embolization), myomectomy, and hysterectomy. Myomectomy is surgery to remove the fibroids, while hysterectomy is surgery to remove the entire uterus. Uterine artery embolization is a safe, minimally invasive hysterectomy alternative that preserves the uterus and fertility.
Other Useful UFE Informational Websites
- Consumer Reports
- OBG Management
- Sir Web