Uterine fibroids are quite common non-cancerous growths that develop into the muscular wall fo the uterus. They range in size from very small to (rarely) the size of a grapefruit.
What is uterine fibroid embolization (UFE)?
Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) is a new less-invasive treatment of fibroid tumors of the uterus. Fibroid tumors, also known as myomas, are masses of fibrous and muscle tissue in the uterine wall which are benign, but which may cause heavy menstrual bleeding, pain in the pelvic region, or pressure on the bladder or bowel.
With angiographic methods similar to those used in heart catheterization, a catheter is placed in each of the two uterine arteries and small particles are injected to block the arterial branches that supply blood to the fibroids. The fibroid tissue dies, the masses shrink, and in most cases symptoms are relieved. Uterine fibroid embolization, done under local anesthesia, is much less invasive than open surgery done to remove uterine fibroids.
The procedure is performed by an experienced interventional radiologist, a physician specially trained to perform uterine fibroid embolization and similar procedures.
Did you know?
- 20-40% of women age 35 and older have uterine fibroids of a significant size.
- African-American women are at a higher risk for uterine fibroids.
- One-third of the hysterectomies performed annually in the United States are due to fibroids.
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