Questions to Ask Your Doctor about Uterine Fibroid Embolization

UFE in atlanta

Uterine fibroid embolization, or UFE, gives fibroid sufferers an alternative to hysterectomy. UFE works by cutting off the blood supply to all of the fibroids in the uterus, thereby reducing both the size of fibroids and the associated symptoms (exs. heavy menstrual bleeding, pelvic pain, increased urinary frequency). If you're considering UFE for your fibroid treatment, here are some questions you may want to ask your doctor about the procedure.

Why Should I Consider UFE?

In almost every instance, if a doctor has recommended hysterectomy to treat your fibroids than UFE is also a potential solution for you. This needs to be confirmed with a consultation with an Interventional Radiologist like Dr. Lipman. UFE is safer than surgery, much less invasive, much less expensive, much shorter recovery, and the woman gets to keep her uterus. Many women who are no longer interested in future fertility that are suffering with fibroids are told they should have a hysterectomy because they no longer need their uterus. This is totally false. The uterus has a lot of important functions for women besides simple childbearing. It is important for women psychologically, sexually, bone health, and even cardiovascular health.

What Happens During the Procedure?

A typical UFE procedure takes between 30 and 45 minutes. You will receive intravenous sedation plus a local anesthetic while a catheter is guided in to the each of the two uterine arteries. The uterine arteries branch like a tree getting smaller and smaller branches out to the fibroids. Tiny particles that are sized for these small vessels are injected to cut off that blood supply resulting in the death of every fibroid. While the fibroids are knocked out, the rest of the branches of the uterus remain open and therefore the remainder of the uterus stays alive. In fact, there have been a number of children born after UFE.

What Happens After UFE?

After UFE, you will be transferred to a monitored recovery room as your sedation wears off. Patients leave our facility the same day of the procedure. Pelvic pain is the most common side effect of UFE and can be controlled with medications. Nausea is also possible. In most cases, women return to their normal activities within five to seven days after UFE, versus a six to eight-week recovery is often required for a hysterectomy.