Know the Differences: Fibroid Embolization vs. Ablation

Most women will develop fibroids at some point during their lifetime. They range in size, location, and severity, and can affect every woman differently.

Uterine fibroids commonly occur during childbearing years and can cause symptoms such as prolonged or irregular periods, heavy bleeding, abdominal pain, and even an enlarged uterus—often leading to weight gain.

Houston Fibroids offers various minimally invasive treatment options, such as fibroid embolization and ablation, to eliminate your fibroids so you can move forward with more regular periods and much less pain.

Let’s discuss the differences between uterine fibroid embolization vs. fibroid ablation in more detail.

What is Fibroid Embolization?

Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) is a minimally invasive procedure to treat uterine fibroids effectively.

A skilled interventional radiologist will use a specialized x-ray (e.g., fluoroscopy) to precisely guide the delivery of embolic agents to the uterus and associated fibroids. These embolic agents block the arteries that provide blood to the fibroids, causing them to lose blood supply, shrink, and dissolve over time.

This advanced treatment can be performed in two ways: the groin or wrist arteries.

UFE is a very effective procedure with a success rate of about 85%.

Most women experience a dramatic improvement in their symptoms and a decrease in the size of their uterine fibroids.

What is Fibroid Ablation?

Uterine fibroid radiofrequency ablation is a minimally invasive, laparoscopic-guided treatment option for fibroids.

This procedure uses heat with targeted energy during an ultrasound to reduce the size of fibroids by as much as 50%.

Because ablation is considered a reduction procedure, its goal is not to remove the fibroid altogether but to reduce its volume to lower symptom frequency and severity.

The Major Differences in Fibroid Embolization vs. Ablation

There are various ways to treat fibroids.

We believe that patient education, a comprehensive diagnosis, and a treatment plan are the best ways to decide the most favorable treatment option for you.

Both UFE and fibroid ablation are effective minimally invasive procedures that:

  • Keep your uterus intact
  • are performed in an outpatient setting
  • require little to no downtime post-procedure
  • can shrink fibroid size
  • allow you to go home after the procedure
  • reduce fibroid pain and associated symptoms

Although there are various similarities between these two procedures, there are also significant differences to consider.

Let’s explore the differences closer using the table below.


Fibroid Ablation

Utilizes local anesthesia and light sedationPerformed under general anesthesia
Requires one small incision and no stitchesRequires two incisions and post-care stitches
Can be used to treat all sizes and locations of fibroidsMore effective on small fibroids
Effective at reducing and removing fibroids completelyCan reduce fibroid size but does not remove fibroids entirely

Before deciding which treatment option is best, it is crucial to speak with your OBGYN and fibroid specialist to determine the best course of action based on your unique health needs.

A Team of Fibroid Treatment Experts in the Houston Area

At Houston Fibroids, we recognize the negative impact fibroids can have on your everyday life and wellbeing. We also know that treatment is different for everyone and based solely on your unique healthcare and wellness needs.

The bottom line? You don’t have to live with debilitating fibroid symptoms or worry about continued fibroid growth. Take control of your health by understanding the differences between fibroid embolization vs. ablation and opting for specialized care with us.

To learn more or get answers to questions like “Is UFE right for me?” we encourage you to schedule a consultation with our expert team today.

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