UFE (Uterine Fibroid Emboloization)
What is Uterine Fibroid Embolization?
Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) is a minimally invasive treatment for uterine fibroids that safely and effectively shrinks fibroids by blocking the blood flow to the fibroids. For women with mild to severe symptoms, UFE is a possible option in place of surgery for the treatment of fibroids.
What Are Uterine Fibroids?
Uterine fibroids are common, non-cancerous tumors of the uterus. It’s estimated that by the age of 35, 40% of Caucasian women and up to 60% of African American women will have uterine fibroids. Genetics, race, obesity, and higher estrogen levels are all considered risk factors for developing fibroids.
There are three basic types of uterine fibroids, classified according to their location in the uterus:
Subserosal Fibroids: These develop in the outer portion of the uterus and continue to grow outward
Intramural Fibroids: These are the most common type and develop in the uterine wall and expand
Submucosal Fibroids: These are the least common and develop within the uterine cavity, causing excessive and prolonged menstrual bleeding
Pedunculated fibroids: grow on stalks or stems. These stems are attached to the uterine wall and can grow either outside the uterus or inside the uterine cavity
What are Symptoms of Uterine Fibroids?
Symptoms of uterine fibroids include considerable pain and heavy bleeding. For these reasons alone, treating uterine fibroids is a priority for most women seeking symptomatic relief.
Other symptoms include:
- Abnormal menstrual cycle (heavy or frequently occurring)
- Painful menstrual periods
- Pain during or after sexual intercourse
- Pressure on the bladder causing frequent urination
- Acute or severe pelvic pain
Who is a Candidate for Uterine Fibroid Embolization?
- Are a woman who is over the age of 35
- Are not currently pregnant
- Have been diagnosed with uterine fibroids
- Are experiencing symptoms such as excessive heavy bleeding, cramping, pelvic pain, bloating or frequent urination
- You are also a candidate if you prefer a non-surgical uterine fibroid treatment option that will preserve your uterus. Make sure to discuss all options with your physician before making a decision.
Benefits of UFE
- Uterine fibroid embolization is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure with no incision needed
- Requires only local (rather than general) anesthesia
- Does not cause scarring like surgical techniques do
- While there will be some moderate pain after a UFE procedure, it is typically less intensive than post-surgical pain
- A good option if you would like to preserve your uterus vs. a hysterectomy
- 85-90% of women experience significant relief of their symptoms
- Faster recovery time compared to surgery
- Same day procedure, typically no overnight stay needed, so you can recover at home
- Reduced risk of infection as compared to surgery
- Easy to make and quickly schedule an appointment at an outpatient center