Rochester General Hospital’s Interventional Radiology team offers a minimally invasive treatment called uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) for women with symptomatic fibroids.
Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) is a safe and effective, non-surgical option for women to consider. Most women with symptomatic fibroids are candidates for UFE and should obtain a consult with an interventional radiologist to determine whether UFE is a treatment option for them.
Up to 50-70% of women aged over 35 have uterine fibroids, which are benign growths that occur in the uterus. While not all fibroids are symptomatic, common signs include:
For most women, fibroids either do not cause symptoms or cause only minor symptoms. Uterine fibroids can range in size from very tiny (a quarter of an inch) to larger than a cantaloupe. Occasionally, they can cause the uterus to grow to the size of a five-month pregnancy. In most cases, there is more than one fibroid in the uterus.
While fibroids do not always cause symptoms, their size and location can lead to problems for some women, including pain and heavy bleeding. Fibroids can dramatically increase in size during pregnancy because of the increase in estrogen levels. After pregnancy, the fibroids usually shrink back to their pre-pregnancy size. They typically improve after menopause when the level of estrogen decreases dramatically. However, menopausal women who are taking supplemental estrogen (hormone replacement therapy) may not experience relief of symptoms.
UFE is a minimally invasive alternative to surgery. If you need treatment for fibroid symptoms but want to avoid surgery, UFE may be right for you. Patients who are ideal for UFE include women who:
UFE is performed with x-ray guidance and sedation. During this non-surgical procedure, your interventional radiologist will make a small incision in your groin or wrist and guide a small catheter into the specific artery supplying blood to the uterine fibroids. Once the catheter is in place, the interventional radiologist injects small particles through the catheter into the artery to stop (or “embolize”) blood flow to the fibroids, causing them to shrink.
When your embolization is complete, your interventional radiologist removes the catheter and applies pressure to the small incision to allow it to heal. Many times, you will be observed overnight and discharged in the morning.
If you’ve been diagnosed with uterine fibroids or pelvic congestion syndrome or have symptoms of either condition, contact the Rochester General Hospital IR Clinic for a consultation. During the consultation, we’ll discuss your symptoms and treatment options. Most insurance companies will cover uterine fibroid embolization and ovarian vein embolization.
To schedule an appointment, call 585-922-5UFE(5833).
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The Division of Interventional Radiology at Rochester General Hospital is a busy clinical practice performing the full spectrum of Interventional Radiology (IR). IR is a medical specialty in which skilled physicians use precise image-guidance to perform minimally invasive procedures. All physicians are board certified by the American Board of Radiology with Dual Certificates in Interventional Radiology and Diagnostic Radiology.