Uterine Fibroid Embolization Procedure

All patients participate in a detailed pre-procedure consultation with our physicians and nurse practitioner. Following the consultation, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is performed to accurately determine the location and size of the fibroids. The MRI will also determine how much blood flow is getting to the fibroids and check the surrounding areas of the pelvis. After the consultation, we can schedule the UFE procedure if the patient is an appropriate candidate.

Uterine Fibroid Embolization involves blocking off the blood supply to the fibroid(s) through this minimally invasive procedure. UFE treats all fibroids in the uterus.

  1. After numbing a small area in the groin, the Interventional Radiologist makes a small puncture in the femoral artery (blood vessel in the groin) and places a small catheter, about the size of a piece of spaghetti, into the artery.
  2. The physician then guides the catheter through the arteries. After the tip of the catheter is in the uterine artery, tiny particles are injected, blocking off the abnormal blood vessels that supply blood to the fibroid(s). The fibroids then shrink and die due to lack of sufficient blood flow.
  3. The catheter is then removed and pressure is applied to the femoral artery puncture site for approximately 20 minutes to stop any bleeding. A bandage is then applied. No stitches are required.
  4. The entire procedure usually takes about one hour. Patients are observed overnight in the hospital and discharged the next morning with specific instructions for home recovery.

Following UFE, patients typically can return to usual activities in approximately 7 to 10 days. The treated fibroids shrink approximately 50%-60% over the course of a year. Patients who present mainly with symptoms of abnormal uterine bleeding notice improvement within a few days. Other patients notice improvement within a few weeks.