Uterine fibroid embolization is a type of interventional radiology procedure that treats uterine fibroids (noncancerous growths in the uterus). This safe, non-surgical treatment works by blocking blood flow to the fibroids, which causes them to shrink and disappear.
As an interventional radiology procedure, uterine fibroid embolization is minimally invasive. This means it’s performed through a small opening. It allows for less pain, a shorter hospital stay and a quicker recovery when compared to traditional surgical uterine fibroid treatments.
Who Is a Candidate for Uterine Fibroid Embolization?
You may be a good candidate for uterine fibroid embolization if you:
- Have pain or have pressure on your bladder or rectum
- Have heavy bleeding
- Want to avoid a hysterectomy
- Are not planning to have children
What to Expect
You are awake during a uterine fibroid embolization procedure and are given a sedative medicine, so you can relax.
Once you are sedated, the interventional radiologist uses X-ray imaging to guide a catheter (thin tube) through an artery in your thigh and into the uterine artery. Then small, round particles called embolic agents are injected into the vessels that supply blood to the fibroids.
The embolic agents act like a dam, blocking blood flow to the fibroids. This causes the fibroids to get smaller and fade away. Depending on your condition, your interventional radiologist may be able to treat all the fibroids in one procedure.
Uterine fibroid embolization usually takes about 1 hour to complete. A one-night stay in the hospital is generally needed. Patients can return to normal activities in about 1 week.
Though uterine fibroid embolization is largely safe, sometimes there are complications. You and your doctor will talk about all the risks and benefits of the procedure before deciding if it's right for you.
Uterine fibroid embolization at Temple is performed by interventional radiologists. These doctors completed special training in interventional radiology, which makes them experts in minimally invasive, image-guided procedures like uterine fibroid embolization.
They use the latest medical imaging technologies and minimally invasive techniques to deliver precise treatment. The doctors work as part of a multidisciplinary care team to make sure you receive the right treatment for your individual case.