Uterine Fibroid Embolization vs Hysterectomy

Uterine Fibroid Embolization vs HysterectomyIntroduction

Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE), also known as “Uterine Artery Embolization (UAE),” is a non-surgical, minimally invasive procedure used to treat symptomatic uterine leiomyoma (or fibroids). UFE shrinks the fibroid tumors that cause pain, heavy and prolonged menstrual bleeding, or exerts a pressure effect on the urinary bladder or large intestines.

UFE is performed by an interventional radiologist (IR) who uses imaging technology to guide a small, specialized catheter safely through a patient’s body into the uterine artery.  Small particles are injected to block off the blood supply to the fibroids.  The fibroids die, shrink and cease to cause the problem.

Women may have this treatment when they are family complete.  The treatment is safe.  The recovery is short, allowing patients to return to normal activity after 7-10 days.


A hysterectomy differs from UFE in several ways. A hysterectomy is a surgical procedure that is carried out to remove the uterus (womb) of a woman in the case of fibroids, dysfunctional uterine bleeding, endometriosis, or cancer. Depending on the complexity of the disease, doctors may remove the cervix, ovaries, and fallopian tubes as well.

According to the National Hospital Discharge Survey, a report from the Centers for Disease Control, hysterectomy is the second most common gynecological surgical procedure after the cesarean section in the United States.

Uterine fibroids

Uterine Fibroids, also referred to as leiomyomas and myomas, are benign muscular growths in the wall of the uterus.  Depending on where in the uterus, they are further classified as submucosal, intramural, or subserosal.

Fibroid tumors are not cancerous, so the presence of fibroids does not mean that you will have cancer.  Uterine fibroids are very common.  While many women are asymptomatic, many women may have symptoms of heavy menstrual bleeding resulting in anemia, abdominal pain and pressure, urinary frequency, and constipation.

Many women receive a recommendation to undergo hysterectomy yet are unaware of an alternative non-surgical option, such as UFE.

Side effects of Uterine Fibroid Embolization

There is a recovery process with any effective uterine fibroid treatment.  For UFE, the process is limited and may require pain management of 2-3 days. 

Side effects of hysterectomy

Since a hysterectomy involves the surgical removal of the uterus, there are more potential risks and complications than that of UFE. 

  • No options for future fertility
  • Premature menopausal if the ovaries are removed during the surgery.  With the lack of estrogen production and its protective effects, women are at increased risk for osteoporosis, heart disease, skin dryness, and brain function.
  • Emotional side effects such as sexual dysfunction
  • Pelvic adhesion

Have you been given a recommendation for a Hysterectomy and want to consider other options? Contact us for a consultation.

The cost of Uterine Fibroid Embolization vs hysterectomy

Compared to a hysterectomy or myomectomy, Uterine Fibroid Embolization is less expensive, minimally invasive, and a same-day procedure.

Uterine Fibroid Embolization is less invasive and more affordable. The cost-effectiveness of UFE comes from the treatment procedure itself, and from the typically eliminated hospital stay. According to the American Journal of Gynecology, the cost of Uterine Fibroid Embolization is 12% less than a hysterectomy and 8% less than a myomectomy. It may be more beneficial to patients as well.

Despite its cost-effectiveness, this procedure is used less often than hysterectomies, perhaps due to a lack of awareness about the method or its benefits.


Uterine Fibroid Embolization is preferred as an option before hysterectomy, as it saves the uterus of a woman, treats the fibroids in a minimally invasive method, and offers lesser risks than hysterectomy. Often patients opt for hysterectomy because they are unaware of UFE as an option.

We can help you advocate for your healthiest option.

American Endovascular is at the forefront of this breakthrough in Uterine Fibroid treatment. Our physicians are among the nation’s most experienced at treating patients with Uterine Fibroids.

We offer uterine fibroid embolization (UFE), a much less invasive, non-surgical procedure with fewer complications, quicker recovery times, and without a hospital stay.

Please contact us today to learn more about the UFE procedure and to schedule a consultation.


Womenshealth.gov -Uterine Fibroids

Womenshealth.gove – Hysterectomy

Obgyn.ucla.com – uterine artery embolization

Radiologyinfo.org – Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE)

En.wikipedia.org – Uterine fibroid

Alaska.providence.org – uterine fibroid embolization

YouTube – side effects of uterine fibroid embolization (UFE)?

Stanfordhealthcare.org – medical treatments hysterectomy side effects

My.clevelandclinic.org -uterine artery embolization risks

Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov – Complications of Uterine Fibroid Embolization

Uspharmacist.com – Complications of Hysterectomy

Sciencedaily.com – Minimally invasive, less expensive treatment for uterine fibroids underutilized

Einstein.edu – Cost and Reimbursement for Three Fibroid Treatments

Mayoclinic.pure.elsevier.com – Development of a research agenda for uterine artery embolization