Know the Differences: UFE vs. Hysterectomy
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.
Most fibroids can be treated with little to no downtime. Don’t assume a total hysterectomy is your only option for complete fibroid care. Explore all available options and learn the differences between UFE vs. hysterectomy to make the best choice for your health.
Let’s discuss the differences between two standard fibroid treatment options: uterine fibroid embolization and hysterectomy, in more detail.
What is UFE?
UFE or uterine fibroid embolization is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure used to treat uterine fibroids effectively.
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.
UFE has proven effective—with a success rate of about 85%. Most women experience a dramatic improvement in their symptoms due to a rapid decrease in fibroid size without a high rate of fibroid regrowth.
What is a Hysterectomy?
In the most basic sense, a hysterectomy is a major surgical procedure used to treat fibroids.
There are two types of hysterectomies:
- A partial hysterectomy involves removing only the uterus.
- A total hysterectomy involves removing the uterus and cervix, and may also involve removing the ovaries and fallopian tubes.
Both options require major surgery and extensive downtime.
Along with these two standard types of hysterectomies, there are various methods used to perform the procedure, including:
A laparoscopic hysterectomy is the least invasive and involves a four-week recovery period. An abdominal hysterectomy has the longest recovery time of eight weeks or longer.
A hysterectomy is often recommended for fibroid treatment, especially if you have multiple fibroids, your fibroids are larger, or you no longer plan to have children. However, there are other less invasive options, like UFE, to consider before making your decision.
The Major Differences Between UFE vs. Hysterectomy
There are various ways to treat fibroids. Some are minimally invasive, like UFE, while others are more extensive, like a total hysterectomy.
No matter what you ultimately choose, we believe that patient education, a thorough diagnosis, and a tailored treatment plan are the best way to care for your fibroids and their associated symptoms.
Both UFE and a hysterectomy effectively treat fibroids. Aside from that, there aren’t many similarities between the two treatment options.
Let’s explore the significant differences more thoroughly using the table below.
|Utilizes local anesthesia and light sedation||Performed under general anesthesia|
|Full recovery in 1 to 2 weeks||Full recovery in 4 to 8 weeks|
|Preserves the uterus||Removes the uterus|
|Requires one small incision and no stitches||Requires more extensive incisions and surgery|
|Can return home after the procedure||Requires a few-day hospital stay|
|Can be used to treat all sizes and locations of fibroids||Effectively treats all fibroids by removing the uterus.|
|Does not affect hormones or other organs||Can affect hormone balance and negatively impact other organs such as the bladder, pelvic floor, and bowels|
|Effective at reducing and removing fibroids completely||Fibroids are gone forever, along with the uterus|
Before you decide on treatment it is crucial to obtain a proper diagnosis and professional medical advice from your OBGYN and a specialized team of fibroid experts.
Treating Your Fibroids Effectively Begins with Us
At Houston Fibroids, we don’t think extreme measures or extensive surgery are non-negotiables for fibroid treatment.
Most women can treat fibroids with minimally-invasive procedures like UFE. We encourage you to explore your treatment options and understand the key differences between UFE vs hysterectomy, so you can make the best decision for your health.