Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE)
Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) is an endovascular technique used to treat symptomatic fibroids without the need for open surgery. This approach effectively reduces the size of fibroids by cutting off their blood supply, leading to their shrinkage and eventual disappearance.
The procedure is conducted by an interventional radiologist, a specialized physician trained in using imaging techniques to guide procedures. Unlike traditional surgery, UFE does not require incisions or closing sutures, making it a less invasive option for patients.
During the procedure, the interventional radiologist uses a catheter to deliver tiny particles to blood vessels that supply blood to the fibroids. These particles impede the blood flow, shrinking the fibroids over time. The procedure is usually performed under local anesthesia, and patients can return home the same day.
One of the most significant advantages of UFE is that it eliminates the need for hospitalization. Since the procedure is minimally invasive, patients can recuperate in their homes, reducing the risk of complications associated with hospital stays.
Additionally, UFE offers a shorter recovery time compared to traditional surgery. Most patients experience mild discomfort a few days after the procedure but can resume normal activities within a week or two.
While UFE delivers excellent outcomes for most patients, the procedure is not ideal for every candidate. Factors such as the size and location of the fibroids, as well as the patient's overall health, need to be considered when determining the best treatment option.
What are the Advantages of UFE?
UFE delivers multiple advantages, including the following:
- Fast symptom reduction: Many women experience a significant decrease in symptoms within the first few days or weeks after the procedure.
- Little blood loss: UFE causes little blood loss compared to surgical alternatives like hysterectomy or myomectomy. This benefit ensures a quicker recovery and minimizes the possibility of complications related to blood loss.
- Covered by a majority of insurance plans: As a medically necessary treatment for uterine fibroids, many insurance providers recognize the effectiveness and cost-saving benefits of UFE. This coverage helps to make the procedure more accessible and affordable for women seeking relief from fibroid symptoms.
Potential UFE Complications
UFE is a highly effective and well-tolerated intervention for symptomatic fibroids. However, like any medical procedure, it is essential to be aware of the potential complications that may arise.
- Mild discomfort: This can include cramping or pelvic pain, which is usually temporary and can be managed with over-the-counter pain medication. It is important to note that discomfort levels can vary between individuals.
- Allergic response: Although rare, some patients may experience an allergic response to the contrast dye or embolic materials, ranging from mild to severe. Medical professionals will closely monitor patients during the procedure to ensure any allergic reactions are promptly addressed.
- Vaginal bleeding: While some degree of bleeding is expected after the procedure, excessive or prolonged bleeding should be reported to a healthcare provider. They can guide the management of the bleeding and determine if further intervention is necessary.
- Non-target embolization: Non-target embolization happens when the embolic agents inadvertently block blood vessels other than those intended. It is important for the interventional radiologist performing the procedure to carefully navigate the blood vessels to minimize the risk.
It is crucial for patients considering UFE to discuss potential complications and risks with their healthcare provider.
Houston Fibroids: Advanced Non-Surgical Fibroid Treatment
Houston Fibroids is a specialized medical center that provides exceptional care for uterine fibroids patients. With a particular emphasis on uterine fibroid embolization (UFE), Houston Fibroids is dedicated to delivering excellent outcomes for diverse patients experiencing debilitating fibroid symptoms.
Contact our helpful representatives to schedule an evaluation today.