Understanding Uterine Fibroid Embolization


Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous tumors that can grow inside or outside the uterus.

Up to 80% of women are diagnosed with fibroids in their lifetime, and many experience more than one fibroid.

If you’ve recently been diagnosed with uterine fibroids or are experiencing symptoms like heavy bleeding, pelvic pain, or issues with infertility that may be linked to your fibroids, we are here to help.

The good news is that most fibroids can be treated with little to no downtime. Although widely discussed, a total hysterectomy is not your only option for complete and long-term fibroid care.

One of the most effective ways to treat fibroids is uterine fibroid embolization– a minimally-invasive procedure that removes your fibroids for good.

Let’s discuss uterine fibroid embolization in more detail below.

What is Uterine Fibroid Embolization?

Uterine fibroid embolization, or UFE, is an outpatient procedure used to treat uterine fibroids effectively without requiring extended hospital stays, extensive downtime, or long recovery timelines.

During UFE treatment, an experienced interventional radiologist uses a specialized x-ray (e.g., fluoroscopy) to guide the delivery of embolic agents through a catheter from the wrist or groin into the uterus.

These embolic agents block blood flow to the fibroids, causing them to lose blood supply, shrink, and completely dissipate over time.

Sometimes, a patient may need to stay overnight in the hospital but may return to normal activities immediately following discharge.

UFE has proven effective—with a success rate of about 85%.

Most women experience a dramatic improvement in their fibroid symptoms due to a rapid decrease in fibroid size without a high rate of fibroid regrowth.

The Benefits of UFE

One of the most significant benefits of UFE is the preservation of the uterus and the non-invasive nature of the procedure.

Other benefits include:

  • Decrease in heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Decrease in urinary dysfunction
  • Reduction of pelvic pain and pressure
  • Virtually no blood loss
  • Covered by most insurance companies
  • Significant improvement in patient’s physical and emotional well-being

UFE offers a shorter hospital stay, a faster return to work, and fewer complications after 30 days compared to a hysterectomy.

Overall, UFE is a safe procedure and is a treatment for uterine fibroids that involves minimal risk and should be at the top of your consideration list if you are experiencing unrelenting fibroid symptoms.

Potential, Rare Risks and Complications Associated with Uterine Fibroid Embolization

Although UFE has a low risk of adverse reactions or complications, there are still risks involved that you should consider before deciding on whether UFE is right for you.

Some of the most common risks and complications include:

  • Non-target embolization
  • Transient amenorrhea (absence of a woman’s menstrual period)
  • Short-term allergic reaction or rash
  • Vaginal discharge or infection
  • Possible fibroid passage
  • Post-embolization syndrome
  • Premature menopause

It is important to note that the effects of UFE on the ability to become pregnant and maintain a healthy pregnancy following UFE have not been determined.

Before beginning your treatment regimen, it is best to speak with a UFE specialist to determine the best options for your specific health and wellness needs.

Is UFE right for me?

Before you decide on the best treatment option, it is essential to recognize that various options for uterine fibroid treatment provide lasting results.

UFE is a minimally invasive treatment that eliminates the pain and worry that comes with a uterine fibroid diagnosis.

Interventional treatments, such as UFE, effectively treat health-related issues, like fertility complications, before they interfere with everyday activities and your overall quality of life.

You are most likely considered an ideal candidate for UFE treatment if you fall into one of the following categories:

  • Women who are experiencing symptoms from uterine fibroids
  • Women who want to retain their uterus and are looking for alternatives to hysterectomy
  • Women who do not desire extensive surgery
  • Women who may be poor surgical candidates, such as those with obesity, bleeding disorders, or anemia
  • Women who are not pregnant

Who Is Not a Candidate for UFE?

While UFE is an excellent option for many women with fibroids, it is only ideal for some.

Those who are not a candidate for UFE include:

  • Patients with fibroids who do not experience symptoms.
  • Pregnant women
  • Patients who have been diagnosed with cervical, endometrial, or uterine cancer
  • Women with an active, recent, or chronic pelvic infection
  • Patients with peripheral vascular disease.
  • Women with bleeding problems or disorders
  • Patients with impaired renal function

Uterine Fibroid Embolization Specialists Near You

At Houston Fibroids, we recognize the negative impact of fibroid symptoms on your everyday life, mainly if they cause debilitating pain, increased bleeding, or infertility problems.

You don’t have to live with fibroids forever. Take control of your health by opting for specialized fibroid care, like uterine fibroid embolization, to start feeling your best again.

Contact us today or schedule a comprehensive consultation with our Houston-based team.

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