- December 15, 2020
- Posted by: AmericanEndovascular
- Categories: Endovascular Treatment, Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE)
Who is most at risk for developing uterine fibroids?
Fibroids are an extremely common benign tumor of the uterus that affect all women. There is a slightly increased risk for black women. Fibroids tend to develop when the body is receiving high amounts of estrogen, the time of puberty until menopause is when we typically see symptomatic uterine fibroids.
When should you have a consultation for UFE if you have uterine fibroids?
Many women have uterine fibroids diagnosed either by physical examination or ultrasound, however, the majority of the time, they’re not causing any issues. Fibroids are very common, benign tumors in the uterus that do not have a propensity to turn into cancer. They warrant medical attention when symptoms arise.
The symptoms can be anything from increased pain during the menstrual cycle to increased menstrual flow, frequency, or length of the menstrual cycle. Other symptoms would be increasing pelvic cramping pain during the menstrual cycle. Less common, but still prevalent symptoms from uterine fibroids that might prompt medical attention would be pain during intercourse as well as bulk symptoms pushing on the bladder or the back, which are adjacent to the uterus.
How does Uterine Fibroid Embolization treat uterine fibroids?
Many treatments are available for uterine fibroids and the symptoms that they cause. One of the treatments is Uterine Fibroid Embolization, which deprives the fibroids of their blood supply. Any part of your body that doesn’t have a blood supply can’t survive and essentially dies. Once we deprive the fibroids of their blood supply, then the body cleans up the fibroid from the outside in with special cells that degrade the fibroids.
Why should a patient consider having UFE at an outpatient center?
Two choices exist. One being in the hospital setting, the other in the outpatient setting.
The hospital setting has advanced equipment and can handle many emergencies. However, that’s usually unnecessary for treatment of uterine fibroids.
The advantages of the outpatient setting are usually a much more personal experience with fewer people involved, more attention directed towards you rather than many other patients who are being treated for other conditions at the same time, and in general, a quicker expeditious experience without the usual delays that occur in a hospital. In addition, in these times, the outpatient setting has less exposure to patients who have various infectious diseases, such as COVID-19.
What happens to fibroids after embolization?
The purpose of embolization is to take away the blood supply to the fibroids. Essentially then they can’t get oxygen and food or get rid of waste, and the cells die in place. The body then recognizes that tissue as being devitalized and it sends in other cells that slowly degrade the fibroids from the outside in and turn them into a little ball of scar tissue.
What is the difference between the recovery of UFE and a hysterectomy?
Hysterectomy has been performed for a long time for uterine fibroids, but typically it requires either an incision or laparoscopic repair. As such, there are sutures and wounds that need to heal, and the recovery can take anywhere up to six weeks for a hysterectomy.
In comparison, Uterine Fibroid Embolization is performed through a needle hole typically in an artery, either in the groin or the wrist, and while there is a recovery time of approximately five to seven days, that is mostly for overcoming the symptoms of pain or nausea or cramping after the procedure, rather than an incision.