Uterine Fibroid Embolization [Dr. Shams]

What is Uterine Fibroid Embolization?


There are many treatments for uterine fibroids. One surgical option is a hysterectomy – the removal of the entire uterus. For patients after menopause who still have symptomatic fibroids, a gynecologist may recommend a hysterectomy as an option. If a patient still wants to have children, a gynecologist may recommend a myomectomy. A myomectomy is a surgical option where each individual fibroid is removed. Often only the larger fibroids are removed.

The affiliated physicians at American Endovascular perform a non-invasive procedure called Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE). Unlike a hysterectomy or a myomectomy, UFE is not surgery. Fibroids tend to have a very brisk vascular supply and need more blood flow than the rest of the uterus to live. Fibroids are able to be attacked directly by injecting particles such as Embosphere Microspheres into the blood vessels. These tiny particles block the blood flow to the fibroids, effectively killing them. With UFE, a catheter is inserted into the groin artery, usually under fluoroscopic guidance, through a small puncture hole. The catheter is then threaded under the X-ray into the blood vessel supplying the fibroids. Microspheres are then injected into the blood vessels to kill the fibroid.

In general, if you have a groin puncture, you may not be able to sit up for about an hour after the procedure, but if the fibroids are accessed from the arm, then you may be able to sit up right away after the procedure.

American Endovascular affiliated physicians have been performing UFE for about 20 years.

New data from the procedure shows that:

  • The technical success rate for Uterine Fibroid Embolization procedure is over 97%.
  • If patients present with bleeding symptoms, then about 93%-98% of the time, those symptoms are going to resolve following the procedure.
  • Patients experience an improvement in bulk symptoms about 80-86% of the time. In other words, if a patient comes in only with symptoms of enlarging mass and feeling bloated, they tend to have a resolution of symptoms after this procedure.

The shrinkage in uterine volume is at 40%-50% at nine months. The uterus is not going to completely shrink to zero, you’ll get about 50% shrinkage of the uterine volume from this procedure. If your symptom is that your stomach looks bad and it is a cosmetic situation, then this is not a good procedure for you. But if you do have the symptoms that we talked about, particularly heavy bleeding, frequency of urination, back pain, pelvic cramping, you would be a good candidate for the Uterine Fibroid Embolization procedure.

Certain patients are not candidates for Uterine Fibroid Embolization. In the presence of a pedunculated subserosal fibroid, which may be seen through an MRI examination of the uterus, a patient will probably experience bulk symptoms. She’s probably feeling bloated, and she feels that there’s a mass growing in her stomach and her pelvis, but also she may have some bleeding symptoms because of the submucosal fibroid. When you have these very large pedunculated fibroids, the patient may not be such a great candidate for Uterine Fibroid Embolization.

Request a consultation at your nearest American Endovascular center today.