Advanced Uterine Fibroid Treatment
Uterine fibroids affect millions of women aged 25 to 44 in the United States, according to the National Institutes of Health. Fortunately, for most women this is a treatable medical condition that usually results in few complications.
Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths that form on your uterus. Generally, uterine fibroids don’t cause symptoms; however, some women may experience pain in the pelvis or lower back and prolonged menstrual cycles. Interventional radiologists at Palmdale Regional Medical Center can perform a minimally invasive procedure called uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) to eliminate fibroids and offer relief.
If you need a referral to a physician at Palmdale Regional Medical Center, call our free physician referral service at 1-800-851-9780.
Uterine Fibroid Embolization
Radiologists once relied heavily on hysterectomies, or the complete removal of the uterus, to treat uterine fibroids. Women who qualify can now take advantage of the UFE procedure, which blocks the flow of blood to the fibroid in order to starve it. The benefits of this minimally invasive procedure compared to traditional surgeries can include:
- General anesthesia is not required, you are only moderately sedated
- Avoiding large incisions in your abdomen
- Virtually no blood loss and no need for a blood transfusion
- Multiple fibroids treated at once
During UFE, a radiologist inserts a catheter (a thin, flexible tube) through the groin and into a blood vessel. The catheter then releases a contrast material, such as iodine, into the blood vessel, which highlights the catheter’s path toward the fibroid. X-ray images help the radiologist guide the catheter to the intended area, and once it arrives, it injects small particles that clog the blood vessels surrounding the fibroid. Without a blood supply, the fibroid shrinks and can eventually die. The entire procedure can take up to three hours.
What to Expect After The Procedure
After the UFE, you will be brought to a recovery room for two to six hours of bed rest. Because this is an inpatient procedure, it’s likely you’ll stay in the hospital overnight for observation. Once you leave the hospital, you will be able to return to your normal activities between a week and 10 days.
Your physician may recommend a follow-up appointment within three weeks to see if you show any signs of infection or other complications.
Up to six months after the procedure, an ultrasound or MRI may be necessary to determine if the procedure eliminated the fibroid.
Am I a Candidate?
Talk to your doctor to see if UFE is right for you as not all women qualify for this procedure. Ideal candidates are those who have not started menopause and who no longer wish to become pregnant. To make an appointment with our radiologists, please receive a referral from your primary care physician.