A hysterectomy is not your only choice. Uterine fibroid emobilization (UFE) opens the door to a less invasive option. The outpatient procedure typically lasts less than an hour and shrinks the fibroids with just a tiny incision in the skin. Find out if UFE is right for you.
WHAT ARE FIBROIDS?
Uterine fibroids are the most common benign (non-cancerous) tumors within the female reproductive system. While the majority of uterine fibroids are diagnosed and treated in women between the ages of 35 and 54, fibroids can occur in women under the age of 35.
A fibroid starts as a normal muscle cell in the uterus. For unknown reasons, this single cell grows and multiplies into a cluster of cells that form the fibroid. Fibroids are stimulated to grow by estrogen (a hormone produce by the ovaries) and blood flow. During menopause, as the estrogen level naturally declines, the fibroid tumor often shrinks on its own.
RISK FACTORS FOR
The following risk factors may contribute to
development of fibroids:
UTERINE FIBROID EMBOLIZATION TREATMENT
Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) is a nonsurgical permanent treatment for fibroids. Compared to the surgical options, UFE results in fewer complications, a shorter hospital stay and a far quicker recovery time. Long term data show that 90 to 95% of women who have the UFE procedure report ongoing satisfaction and significant or total symptomatic relief for many years following the procedure.
UFE is performed through a tiny puncture either in the femoral artery in the groin, or in the radial artery at the wrist. The radial artery puncture is a newer technique, and allows the patient to get off the procedure table quicker and also to position themselves more comfortably on the recovery bed.
Under fluoroscopic (xray) guidance, the interventional radiologist guides a wire and catheter into the uterine arteries on both sides (which supply the fibroids), and injects small particle, the size of grains of sand, that block the blood supply to the fibroids, causing the fibroid to shrink and die. The outpatient procedure is performed in about an hour in our on-site vascular suite, and the patient is awake but sedated and comfortable. Heavy periods usually take a few cycles to lessen. Patients can usually resume normal activity after a week (as opposed to a hysterectomy which usually requires a much longer recovery time).
After the procedure, the patient is prescribed medications to help control the cramping and pain that may develop. Light activities can be resumed in a few days, and most women return to normal activities in 7 to 10 days.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has designated and approved UFE as a first-line treatment option for uterine fibroids.
At VascularCare, our physicians are among the most experienced in the entire region at performing the UFE procedure. Call us today to schedule a free screening for this and other conditions at a VascularCare office in northern Virginia (convenient to Springfield, Fairfax, Alexandria, Arlington, Woodbridge) or Maryland (convenient to Waldorf, La Plata, Clinton).
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from the fibroid experts