Fibroids are common benign tumors of the uterus, affecting up to 40% of women over the age of 30. Although majority of women may not know that they have fibroids or are asymptomatic, many women suffer from a variety of symptoms including heavy menses (menonorrhagia), heavy and frequent menses (menometrorrhagia), pelvic pain, urinary frequency, or painful intercourse (dyspareunia). Minimally invasive treatment is now available for which may avert the need for surgical hysterectomy.
Uterine Fibroid Embolization
Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) is a minimally invasive treatment performed by an interventional radiologist using catheters and embolic material under fluoroscopic guidance. Via a small incision in the upper thigh, a catheter is used to navigate to the uterine arteries which supply the fibroids. Small embolic particles are then delivered to cutoff the blood supply to the fibroids while retaining the viability of the uterus. UFE is performed in the interventional radiology suite at the hospital with conscious sedation. Recovery is relatively short and patients are admitted overnight for observation and discharged the next morning. Numerous studies have shown safe and excellent results for heavy menses, pelvic pain, and bulk related symptoms.
Cynthia Bailey from The Real Housewives of Atlanta had a UFE and was recently featured on The Doctors.
|A. Uterine fibroid embolization procedure: Catheter is selectively placed percutaneously into the uterine artery to deliver embolic material to block the blood flow to the fibroids.||B. Magnified view of the catheter positioned in the distal right uterine artery.|
|Contrast enhanced MR of the pelvis before (left image) and after (right image) uterine fibroid embolization. After 3 months, the fibroid (labeled) does not enhance and has decreased in size significantly.|