FAQs about Uterine Fibroid Embolization
Fibroids are muscular tumors that are usually benign and grow inside the uterus, within the wall of the uterus, or outside of the uterus. They are different from uterine polyps and endometriosis because these conditions result in abnormal growth of endometrium tissue.
The majority of women have developed fibroids by the time they reach age 50, but not all women have symptoms. The most common symptoms are:
- Heavy bleeding during your period
- Feeling of fullness or noticeable enlargement of the pelvic area
- Frequent urination or incontinence
If you have mild symptoms, medication to control the symptoms may be recommended first. For more significant symptoms, if the fibroid grows, or if medication does not help, you may need surgery:
- Endometrial ablation: removing the lining of the uterus to control heavy bleeding.
- Myomectomy: surgery to remove fibroids, but leaving the uterus in place.
- Hysterectomy: surgery to remove the uterus.
- Uterine Fibroid Embolization: a minimally invasive procedure to block the blood supply to the fibroid, which causes it to shrink.
The best candidates for Uterine Fibroid Embolization are women who have symptomatic fibroids that are causing heavy periods and/or pain from the size of the fibroid. It is also an alternative to a hysterectomy for women who do not want to undergo surgery to remove their uterus.
Dr. Fox and Dr. Hardee are interventional radiologists who have over 25 years of experience performing UFE. They have experience performing the procedure through both the femoral and trans-radial arteries. At our Houston Fibroids office, we also have an in office surgery suite where UFE is performed for the convenience and comfort of our patients.
Yes, UFE is covered by most private insurance plans and Medicare. The cost that you pay out of pocket will depend on your co-payment and deductible amounts. We also accept the CareCredit credit card to help cover the cost of UFE. For more information about billing and insurance, click here. Our office is happy to help you through the insurance process if you have any questions.
The success rate can be as high as 90%, so most women will see a quick improvement in the symptoms caused by fibroids. If the artery feeding the fibroid is not completely blocked, it could grow back, but this is rare. Most women do not need to pursue other treatments for fibroids after UFE.
UFE is an outpatient procedure, so you’ll be able to go home the same day. The first week after the procedure, you’ll want to take it easy. Many women are able to return to normal activities in 8-14 days. Most women notice an improvement in their symptoms within 3-6 months.*
*Individual results may vary.