Uterine Fibroid Embolization

What is Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE)?

Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) is a minimally invasive treatment for fibroid tumors in the uterus.

Fibroid tumors, also known as myomas, are masses of fiber and muscle tissue in the wall of the uterus. Although these tumors are not cancerous, they may cause heavy menstrual bleeding, pain in the pelvic region and pressure on the bladder or bowel.

In a uterine fibroid embolization procedure, physicians use image guidance to place a synthetic material called an embolic agent inside one or more of the blood vessels that supply the fibroid tumors with blood. As a result, these vessels become occluded, or closed off, and the fibroid tissue shrinks. In most cases, symptoms are relieved.

What are some common uses of the procedure?

Uterine fibroid embolization is most often performed to:

  • treat symptoms caused by fibroid tumors.
  • stop severe bleeding caused by malignant gynecological tumors or associated with childbirth.

Because the effects of uterine fibroid embolization on fertility are not yet known, the ideal candidate is a pre-menopausal woman with symptoms from fibroid tumors who no longer wishes to become pregnant but wants to avoid having a hysterectomy, in which the uterus is surgically removed. Uterine fibroid embolization may be an excellent alternative for women who, for reasons of health or religion, do not want to receive blood transfusions, which may be necessary during open surgery. The procedure also benefits women who, for any reason, cannot receive general anesthesia.

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