Uterine artery embolization (UFE) is a minimally invasive treatment for uterine fibroids, noncancerous growths in the uterus. A UFE essentially starves a fibroid of blood, glucose, and oxygen by blocking the arteries flowing to the fibroid, causing it to reduce in size and eventually disappear. The physician uses angiogram technology to guide the catheter to the arteries that supply blood to the fibroid. A solution of polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) particles is then injected into those uterine arteries through the catheter. These particles build up in the targeted arteries and block blood flow to the fibroid.
A UFE usually takes between 1 and 3 hours and patients usually require about 6 hours of bed rest after the procedure. Patients may experience mild discomfort as the embolization takes full effect. The fibroid tumorous breaking down and exiting the body may cause light bleeding for the few weeks after the procedure. Most patients can expect to return to normal activity 7 to 10 days after the procedure. Our physicians will most likely recommended a follow-up consult after the UFE 1 to 3 weeks afterward and an ultrasound or MRI 3 to 6 months later to monitor your progress.