Patient Guide to Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE)
What is Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE)?
Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) is a non-surgical, minimally invasive procedure designed to treat uterine fibroids.
Also known as uterine artery embolization, UFE involves blocking the blood vessels that supply blood to the fibroids, causing them to shrink and alleviating associated symptoms.
Understanding Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE)
UFE is performed by an interventional radiologist using a catheter, which is threaded through blood vessels to the uterine arteries. Small particles or embolic agents are then injected into the arteries, blocking blood flow to the fibroids.
This process, while reducing the size of the fibroids, helps relieve symptoms such as heavy menstrual bleeding, pelvic pain, and pressure on the bladder or rectum.
Symptoms of Uterine Fibroids
Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths in the uterus that often appear during childbearing years.
Symptoms of fibroids can include:
- Heavy Menstrual Bleeding: Prolonged or excessive menstrual bleeding.
- Pelvic Pain or Pressure: Discomfort or pain in the pelvic region.
- Frequent Urination: Pressure on the bladder leading to more frequent urination.
- Backache or Leg Pains: Fibroids pressing on nerves may cause back or leg pain.
- Painful Menstrual Periods: Increased cramping and pain during menstruation.
Treatment Highlights of Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE)
Minimally Invasive: UFE is a non-surgical procedure that avoids the need for major incisions.
Preserves Uterus: Unlike hysterectomy, UFE preserves the uterus, making it a fertility-preserving option.
Effective Symptom Relief: UFE is highly effective in reducing or eliminating symptoms
associated with uterine fibroids.
Outpatient Procedure: UFE is often performed on an outpatient basis, allowing for a quicker recovery.
FAQ’s on Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) Treatment
Q. Is UFE a surgical procedure?
A. No, UFE is a minimally invasive procedure that involves threading a catheter through blood vessels.
Q. How long does a UFE procedure take?
A. The procedure typically takes around one to two hours.
Q. Is UFE painful?
A. Patients may experience some discomfort, but anesthesia is used to minimize pain during the procedure.
Q. How soon can I resume normal activities after UFE?
A. Most patients can return to normal activities within one to two weeks after the procedure.
Q. Are there any risks associated with UFE?
A. While rare, risks may include infection, bleeding, or an allergic reaction to the embolic agents.
Q. Can I get pregnant after UFE?
A. UFE is considered a fertility-preserving option, and some women have successfully conceived after the procedure. However, fertility outcomes can vary.
Q. Will UFE affect my menstrual cycle?
A. UFE often leads to lighter and shorter menstrual periods.
Q. Is UFE covered by insurance?
A. Coverage may vary, and it’s advisable to check with insurance providers regarding specific coverage for UFE.
Q. Can UFE be repeated if needed?
A. In some cases, UFE can be repeated if fibroids regrow or symptoms persist.
Q. Who should consider UFE as a treatment option?
A. Women experiencing symptoms related to uterine fibroids who want a non-surgical, uterus-preserving option may consider UFE.
Who is a Good Candidate for Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE)?
Good candidates for UFE typically include women who:
Experience Symptomatic Fibroids:
Individuals with symptoms such as heavy menstrual bleeding, pelvic pain, or pressure.
Desire Uterus Preservation:
Women who want to preserve their uterus and maintain fertility.
Wish to Avoid Surgery:
Individuals seeking a non-surgical alternative to traditional fibroid treatments like hysterectomy.
Are in Good Overall Health:
Women in good health who can tolerate the procedure and recovery process.
Have Completed Childbearing:
While UFE can be performed in women who wish to have children, it is often considered in those who have completed their family planning.
Understand the Procedure:
Women should have a clear understanding of the UFE procedure, its benefits, and potential risks.
It’s important for individuals to consult with our physicians specializing in interventional radiology to determine the most appropriate treatment plan based on the individual health factors and preferences.
Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) is a valuable option for women seeking a non-surgical, uterus-preserving treatment for symptomatic fibroids. By blocking blood flow to the fibroids, UFE effectively reduces or eliminates associated symptoms, providing a minimally invasive alternative to traditional surgical interventions.
If you are experiencing symptoms related to uterine fibroids, contact the Vascular Institute of Ohio friendly office staff for an appointment or consultation with one of our physicians, to explore whether UFE is a suitable option for your individual needs and health circumstances.