Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) is a minimally invasive, non-surgical procedure used to treat Uterine Fibroids – a type of tumor that grows in the uterus. While these tumors are non-cancerous, they can cause troublesome and disruptive symptoms like heavy menstrual bleeding, abdominal pain/pressure as well as urinary and other symptoms.
Signs and symptoms of Uterine Fibroids may include:
- Heavy and long menstrual bleeding
- Passage of large clots during menstrual period
- Bleeding in between periods
- Abdominal or pelvic pain / pressure
- Back pain
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Abnormally enlarged abdomen
- Frequent urge to urinate
- Urinary incontinence
In the U.S., Uterine Fibroids are surprisingly common:
- 70% percent of women over the age of 35 years will develop Uterine Fibroids
- Most fibroids are diagnosed and treated in women of age 30 - 50
- However, fibroids can and do occur in women as young as 20+
If you are among the women affected by the symptoms of uterine fibroids, the University of Miami Interventional Radiology team has extensive experience in treating Uterine Fibroids with UFE.
Uterine Fibroid Embolization
Uterine fibroid embolization is performed by a physician called an Interventional Radiologist (IR). The procedure is performed through a small puncture in the wrist or groin.
A catheter is inserted through the artery and advanced towards the uterus. Once the catheter is positioned in the artery supplying blood to the uterine fibroids, tiny particles are injected. These particles are tiny spheres which are smaller than grains of sand. These particles get stuck in the small branches supplying blood to the uterine fibroids, blocking blood flow. The blockage of these branches is called embolization.
The procedure is then repeated on the other side of the uterus. The procedure can take anywhere from 1 – 2.5 hours, depending on the location and size of the uterine arteries. Most women will not feel any pain during the procedure, except a minor pinch at the access point in the wrist or the groin. Some women do feel abdominal cramping or heaviness towards the end of the procedure, however pain medication is given before, during and after the procedure, to prevent and/or decrease these symptoms. During the procedure, sedatives and pain killers (like Versed and Fentanyl) are used to alleviate anxiety, however patients are awake during the procedure. Patients usually stay up to 23 hours after the procedure is complete. You can resume your normal activities as early as the day after the procedure and patients usually return to work in 3-7 days.
How effective is UFE?
UFE has been shown to be equally effective as hysterectomy (surgical removal of uterus) for symptom relief by multiple studies
Why Choose UHealth?
Innovative, expert care for UFE. The Department of Interventional Radiology uses the latest research and the least invasive procedures to help you handle the troublesome symptoms of fibroids and recover quickly. Our team will help design a treatment plan, personalized to your needs and goals, to give you the safest and most effective treatment for fibroids.
Care designed with women in mind. Our Interventional Radiology has experienced physicians offering care specific to women’s health issues. Our interventional radiologists work in collaboration with obstetricians and gynecologists as well as primary care physicians to provide research-backed care that is tailored to each woman. We help make care more convenient — offering advanced in-office procedures, the latest diagnostic tests for fast results, and access to comprehensive women’s health services for women of all ages — all in one location. Our highly-trained physicians and staff are sensitive to the needs of every woman, so you can feel comfortable and confident in your care and treatment.