Is Uterine Fibroid Embolization Safe?
Is Uterine Fibroid Embolization safe? Yes,
Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) is a safe non-surgical procedure. It is done in the
hospital by a radiologist with the aim of stopping the blood flow going into the fibroid,
thus shrinking the fibroid over time.
This procedure is also known as Uterine Artery
Embolization (UAE), but UFE is specifically for fibroid tumors unlike UAE which could also be
applied to trauma, malignant gynecological tumors, and hemorrhage after childbirth. Moreover,
this article focuses on how the procedure is done, how successful it is, the advantages of
the procedure, and the risks and side effects of the said procedure.
It should be mentioned that uterine
fibroid embolization doesn’t require surgical procedures. So exactly how then, is it done?
Not being a surgery, UFE is done by giving the patient a medication that causes them to
relax and does not require general anesthesia. This means that the patient will be
awake during the entire procedure.
When the patient can no longer feel pain, the
radiologist cuts a tiny part of the groin and inserts a catheter, a kind of tiny tube.
The catheter is inserted through an artery to the uterus and when it is in place, tiny
particles are injected into the bloodstream by way of the catheter. The tiny particles are
made of plastic or gelatin sponge, the size of a grain of sand, which move into the smaller
arteries and capillaries leading to the fibroids and cause a halt to or
diminishing of the blood flow into the fibroid. Without blood coming into the fibroid,
the tumor will then shrink over time.
Not being a surgical procedure, how successful
is UFE? Fortunately, this procedure is very successful in reducing abnormal bleeding at a
high rate of 85% to 95%. Additionally, 80% of women who have undergone this procedure were
totally relieved of their pain, or mainly felt relieved. And in terms of improvement in
pelvic pressure in women it goes up to 60% to 96% which is a good
In respect to fibroid surgery, what are the
advantages of uterine fibroid embolization? UFE luckily doesn’t require you to stay in the
hospital for weeks or months unlike surgery. After the procedure, you may stay just one night
and then go home the following day. You can even do normal or daily activities after a week.
In short, recovery period is shorter compared to surgery. Another is that you do not
incur a lot of blood loss and a big scar due to surgery. Even better, you do not need
to be on general anesthesia during the whole procedure.
Though UFE is does not require surgery there are
still risks and side effects on the procedure. What are these risks and side effects? After
the first few hours of the procedure, some women may have moderate to severe cramps,
including nausea and fever. A few others get infections and others also incur injuries to the
uterus which may lead to uterus removal, known as hysterectomy. Otherwise, medicine can help
relieve any infection or fever.
Summing all of these up, uterine fibroid
embolization is still safe and effective and is one procedure that most women should consider
instead of the actual surgery.