What is Uterine Fibroid Utilization?
Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) is a minimally invasive treatment for fibroid tumors of the uterus. The procedure is also sometimes referred to as Uterine Artery Embolization (UAE) also.
Why it’s done
Uterine fibroids can cause severe symptoms in some women, including heavy menstrual bleeding, pelvic pain and swelling of the abdomen. Uterine artery embolization destroys fibroid tissue and eases these symptoms. And it provides an alternative to surgery to remove fibroids (myomectomy).
You might choose uterine artery embolization if you’re premenopausal and:
- You have severe pain or heavy bleeding from uterine fibroids
- You want to avoid surgery, or surgery is too risky for you
- You want to keep your uterus
- Optimizing a future pregnancy isn’t your chief concern
Uterine artery embolization is generally safe. Ask your doctor about these possible problems.
A risk for any anesthesia is having a bad reaction to the anesthetic that is used.
The risks for any invasive procedure are:
The risks of uterine artery embolization are:
- Injury to an artery or to the uterus
- Complications with a future pregnancy. Some of these are intrauterine growth restriction (a condition that causes the baby to grow more slowly than usual in the uterus), preterm delivery (the baby is born early), bleeding after delivery, problems with the placenta, and miscarriage.
- Pregnancy is not recommended after this procedure
- Early menopause
Before the Procedure
Always tell your doctor or nurse:
- If you could be pregnant
- What drugs you are taking, even drugs, supplements, or herbs you bought without a prescription
Before your UAE:
You may be asked to stop taking aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), warfarin (Coumadin), and any other drugs that make it hard for your blood to clot.
Ask your doctor which drugs you should still take on the day of your surgery.
If you smoke, try to stop. Ask your doctor or nurse for help.
On the day of your UAE:
- You will usually be asked not to drink or eat anything for 6 to 8 hours before this procedure.
- Take the drugs your doctor told you to take with a small sip of water.
- Your doctor or nurse will tell you when to arrive at the hospital.
- After Uterine Artery Embolization
After the Procedure
- Women usually stay in the hospital overnight after UAE. Some women are able to go home a few hours after treatment, but this is less common.
- You will receive pain medicine. You will be asked to lie flat for 4 to 6 hours after the procedure.
- Pelvic cramps are common for the first 24 hours after the procedure. They may last for 2 weeks. Cramps may be severe and may last more than 6 hours at a time.
- The treated fibroid tissue may pass through your vagina.