What is Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE)?
You or your loved one may have been told a hysterectomy or other surgery is your only treatment option to end your fibroid symptoms. We want you to know you have other choices that don’t require surgery or the removal of your uterus.
One of the most successful non-surgical treatment options is called Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE). This is a minimally-invasive procedure that cuts off blood flow to the fibroids and causes them to shrink. What you’re left with is relief from painful fibroid symptoms—and your uterus intact.
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Is Uterine Fibroid Embolization for You?
Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) is the treatment of choice for our patients. It treats all fibroids at once, avoids the removal of the uterus, requires no hospital stay and takes only 30 to 60 minutes to complete. You may be wondering if UFE is the right treatment option for you.
You’re a good candidate for the procedure if you:
- Have symptomatic fibroids that disrupt your life
- Want to keep your uterus
- Don’t want any surgery
- Cannot have surgery due to medical issues
- Need to lessen time away from work and family
- Don’t consider getting pregnant a top priority
If you think you may be a good candidate for Uterine Fibroid Embolization, Dr. Buckner can help educate you about the UFE procedure and further determine if you are a candidate or would benefit from this treatment option.
Benefits of UFE
Interventional Radiologists, such as Dr. Buckner, offer Uterine Fibroid Embolization to treat fibroids without all the risk, pain and blood loss that can occur with surgery. We perform UFE as an outpatient procedure with no more than an adhesive bandage to cover the small puncture. This is in stark contrast to traditional fibroid surgery or hysterectomy that require a much larger incision that is prone to scarring and can result in more complications and longer recovery times with expensive hospital stays.
What to Expect During UFE
The procedure will last about one hour, you will be asleep for the procedure. You can resume light activities as soon as you feel up to it, most women return to work in 7-10 days.
During the procedure Dr. Buckner will make a tiny nick in your groin area. A very small catheter is inserted through this into your artery. Dr. Buckner uses x-ray guidance to locate the vessels that supply blood to your fibroids. Small particles are injected into the vessels, blocking the blood flow to the fibroids causing them to shrink. We will see you one week after the procedure to assess your recovery. You will have additional post-procedure appointments at three months and one year.
After your Procedure
After your Uterine Fibroid Embolization procedure, you will need pain medicine and plenty of rest. You can expect to feel better as each day passes and will recover completely after 7 to 10 days. If your work requires heavy lifting, we recommend taking 2 weeks off.
For the first 5 days following UFE, your body will need time to heal. You may have:
- Moderate to severe cramps
- Low-grade fever
- Vaginal spotting or discharge
These are all normal side effects from the treatment. We will give you several medications to help manage these symptoms and make you as comfortable as possible. When your first menstrual cycle returns after UFE it may be heavier than normal, but it will become much lighter. Your other menstrual symptoms will also improve over time.
FAQ's Answered by Dr Buckner. Click the videos below for answers to common questions about Uterine Artery Embolization.