Many people have questions about the fibrid UFE Procedure. Here are the answers to some common questions.
Uterine artery embolization (UAE) is called uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) when it is specifically used to treat fibroids.
In 1989, a doctor in France named Dr. Jacques-Henri Ravina used UAE to stop the blood flow to fibroids prior to performing a myomectomy to reduce blood loss during the procedure. Women called to cancel their myomectomy appointments because the UAE had caused the fibroids to shrink providing relief from their symptoms.
UFE is a specialized procedure performed by an interventional radiologist. Most gynecologist do not have the additional training and equipment necessary to perform the procedure.
Yes, the procedure will work on one or multiple fibroids.
The tiny particles are made of a plastic substance that is similar to the material used to make contact lenses called polyvinyl alcohol (PVA). This medical-grade material is safe and FDA approved for embolization.
We use “conscious sedation” during the procedure. Some patients are so comfortable they fall asleep while others feel groggy and stay awake.
The procedure itself is essentially pain-free. Pain medication is administered through an IV prior to the procedure and conscious sedation is given during the procedure. Most women tell us they do not feel any pain or discomfort.
During the first 2-6 hours you may experience mild to intense cramping and some nausea. You will be given IV and oral medications during recovery to make you feel comfortable.
After the first 6-10 hours, cramping will subside to mild or moderate pain over several days. Flu-like symptoms like a low-grade fever, general malaise, and mild nausea can occur and are treated at home with prescription medications.
Some women return to normal activity in just a few days and most women return to work within 7-14 days after the procedure.
Formal studies have not yet been done to determine the effect of UFE on fertility, but there have been many reported cases of post-UFE women becoming pregnant. If you do not want to become pregnant, be sure to stay on your preferred method of birth control.
Most women report no change or an improvement in sexual response, but a small number of women have found their sexual response decreases after the procedure.
Most women experience relief of heavy menstrual bleeding as soon as their first menstrual cycle after the procedure. Treated fibroids may take six months to shrink which relieve symptoms of back pain and bloating.
Post embolization syndrome occurs in a small number of women who have had UFE. It can occur within hours of the procedure or several days later. Women with post-embolization syndrome experience flu-like symptoms: general malaise, low-grade fever, mild nausea. It usually lasts between 24-48 hours.