Uterine Fibroid Embolization
What Is Uterine Fibroid Embolization?
Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE, or uterine artery embolization, UAE) is a minimally invasive and effective treatment for uterine fibroids in which the uterus is preserved. UFE takes advantage of certain physiological changes that are caused by uterine fibroids; a uterus with fibroids has more small blood vessels than a normal uterus because the fibroids stimulate the growth of these small vessels in order to supply them with oxygen and nutrients. UFE relies on the release of small particles (called embolizing agents) into the uterine artery, and these particles then travel into the small vessels supplying blood to the fibroids. The particles block the flow of blood in the small vessels, effectively starving the fibroids; because of this, the fibroids shrink significantly, though they do not disappear. This eases the symptoms of the fibroids, but maintains the integrity of the uterus.
The procedure is done using a slender, flexible tube (called a catheter) to inject the particles, and it takes less than an hour. Patients are given a short recovery time in one of our private rooms and are able to return home by the end of the day.