Uterine Fibroid Embolization: A Minimally Invasive Alternative to Surgery
Uterine fibroids are benign growths in the uterus, usually in a woman of childbearing age. While these growths are not cancerous, they can induce heavier and longer menstrual bleeding, pain, discomfort, frequent or difficult urination, constipation, and can even cause difficulty getting pregnant. Fibroids can be found within the muscular uterine wall (intramural fibroids), in the uterine cavity (submucosal fibroids), or on the outside of the uterus (subserosal fibroids). If fibroids are causing uncomfortable symptoms, uterine fibroid embolization may be an option.
Uterine fibroid embolization is a minimally invasive procedure performed by an Interventional Radiologist. During the often outpatient procedure, your Interventional Radiologist will insert a small catheter into the uterine arteries and inject small particles which block blood flow to the fibroids. Lack of blood flow will cause the fibroids to shrink and soften. As the fibroids shrink, symptoms decrease. Uterine fibroid embolization is a less invasive alternative to hysterectomy and myomectomy surgeries, which remove the entire uterus or fibroids from the uterus, respectively.
While non-surgical uterine fibroid embolization is safe and minimally invasive, there are some risks, as with any medical procedure. Uterine fibroid embolization risks include infection, non-target embolization, and temporary urinary discomfort.
Uterine fibroid embolization recovery time is short; the patient usually goes home the same day, has minor pain in the days following, and will feel results within three months. Patients can return to work and their normal activities following uterine artery embolization when compared to surgery. A follow-up MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) exam will show whether the fibroids have shrunk and/or disappeared from the uterus.
The Vascular and Interventional Radiologists at Central Oregon Radiology Associates are ready to help treat your uterine fibroids. Call our office to find out if uterine fibroid embolization is the right procedure for you.