Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE), or uterine artery embolization (UAE), is a nonsurgical treatment option for shrinking uterine fibroids. Fibroids are noncancerous tumors that grow in the uterus.
While they are usually not dangerous, they can cause pain, discomfort and pregnancy complications.
How Does Uterine Fibroid Embolization Work?
During UFE, a Rush interventional radiologist creates an incision about the size of a pencil tip and guides a thin tube or catheter from the top of the thigh to the uterine artery. The physician then injects tiny particles in the blood vessels that lead to the fibroids, blocking their blood flow. Since fibroids need blood flow for growth, your tumors will shrink over time.
- The procedure takes about an hour to perform.
- You will be sedated during the procedure.
- An overnight hospital stay is usually recommended.
- Any discomfort following the procedure will be treated with pain medication.
- Vaginal bleeding may occur for a few days or weeks as the fibroids break down.
Uterine Fibroid Embolization Benefits
Since UFE is minimally invasive and nonsurgical, you will experience a number of benefits as compared to other treatments, including the following:
- Treats all tumors at once, without the need for additional visits or treatment
- Does not impact your ovaries or uterus
- Requires light to moderate sedation and little blood loss
- Results in shorter hospital stays, often just overnight
- Fewer complications
- Return to your daily life quicker — usually within seven to 10 days
Is Uterine Fibroid Embolization Right for Me?
We will assess if UFE is the best treatment choice for you. You will most likely have a successful UFE if you currently:
- Experience negative symptoms of fibroids
- Have dominant fibroids (single fibroids are often the most successful)
- Are not pregnant and are not considering future pregnancies
- Want to keep your uterus (vs. treatments that remove the uterus)
- Do not want surgery or are not a good candidate for surgery
- Have not reached menopause
If you would like to learn more about UFE and if it's right for you, talk to your Rush OB-GYN and schedule a consultation.
Rush Excellence in Uterine Fibroid Embolization
- Nationally-ranked for gynecologic care: U.S. News & World Report ranked Rush University Medical Center No. 13 in the nation for gynecologic care.
- Convenient and comprehensive care for complex cases: Sometimes, you may have uterine fibroids in addition to other pelvic health conditions. If your case is more complicated, you may need multiple specialists to develop a holistic treatment plan. The Program for Abdominal and Pelvic Health at Rush University Medical Center brings together the physicians needed to give you the best in care. We’ll coordinate your services, create personalized treatment plans for your conditions, and facilitate communication between you and your providers for your convenience.