What Is Uterine Fibroid Embolization?

Women who suffer from uterine fibroids which have not been responsive to medication or even hormone treatment may want to consider uterine fibroid embolization. Experts recommend the procedure when a woman’s uterine fibroids are usually interfering with her daily schedule, including symptoms such as heavy monthly bleeding, pain in the pelvic area and pressure upon the urinary and bowel.

Fibroids Explained

Fibroids are usually benign masses of tissue and muscle formed in or within the uterine wall. The removal of these masses usually resolves the troublesome symptoms. Prior to the development of the uterine fibroid embolization procedure, women who did not gain relief from medical interventions got only a surgical option, typically associated with the uterus (hysterectomy), available to them. Uterine fibroid embolization is a much less intrusive procedure that is still extremely effective in removing the fibroids.

Uterine Fibroid Embolization

Rather than removing the masses or the uterus directly, uterine fibroid embolization works by eliminating the blood circulation to the fibroids causing them to shrink and cease causing symptoms. The process normally requires an overnight remain at a hospital. During the procedure, the physician, typically an interventional radiologist, uses a fluoroscope or a small X-ray camera to guide the deposit of inert particles into the uterine arteries.
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This is done by threading a small catheter through the femoral artery into the uterine artery and sending the contaminants to that site to close off the particular uterine artery and prevent blood flow towards the fibroid or fibroids. Depending on the place of the fibroids, one or both sides of the uterus will be treated. The material used to obstruct the blood flow may be tiny bits of plastic or even a gelatinous material proven to safely block the artery. The patient is alert but completely sedated during the embolization and local anesthesia minimizes this of the incisions and insertion from the catheter.

Once the blockage of the uterine artery is completed, the fibroids will die and shrink. It is not uncommon for the tissue of the fibroids to be passed out of the uterus at some time after the procedure. Without the blood-rich masses making pressure within the uterus and on the particular bowel and bladder, a woman may experience relief from heavy bleeding almost immediately and from the pain and pressure within weeks to a few several weeks. The fibroids are usually reduced in size by at least half six months after embolization.

Since the method requires just a small incision into the femoral artery, recovery time is fairly speedy. To assure the bleeding ceases, the patient should lie down for four to six hours after the procedure. Post-uterine fibroid emoblization, the majority of females can expect some cramping, which can be especially severe during the first twenty-four hrs. Adequate pain control during that period often includes narcotic administration during an overnight stay. Once the girl is discharged she will be given pain-control medication and advice to use otc pills such as ibuprofen to help handle the discomfort. By the time seven to ten times have passed after the uterine fibroid embolization, most women will be able to resume regular activities.

Since not all of the blood circulation to the uterus is interrupted by uterine fibroid embolization, the womb will not suffer the same fate because the fibroids, although it may decrease in size up to 40 percent. Some uterine fibroid embolizations actually are followed by effective pregnancies, and the procedure is used to get rid of some kinds of infertility problems. Nearly 80 percent of patients record prompt symptom relief, but some analysis suggests that up to 10 percent of women may form additional fibroids even after the uterine fibroid embolization. Other techniques, such as a hysterectomy, may be necessary to eliminate fibroid growth for those women.
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