WHAT IS UFE?
HOW DOES UFE WORK?
- UFE is a non-surgical procedure that blocks the flow of blood to your uterine fibroids, basically cutting off their oxygen and nutrients. No oxygen means no growth.
- The UFE procedure is performed by a specially-trained physician called an interventional radiologist.
- It is performed under conscious sedation (which simply means that you will be receiving IV medications to help relax you and control your pain).
- First, a small tube, called a catheter, is inserted into the groin and then moved into the uterine artery, which supplies blood to your fibroids.
- The radiologist then injects microspheres—tiny hydrogel balls—through the catheter.
- These microspheres fill the uterine blood vessels and block the flow of blood. Once the fibroids are starved of oxygen, they begin to shrink and your symptoms should start to improve.1-2
If you have any questions about the UFE procedure or other treatment options, talk with your OB/GYN or directly with an Interventional Radiologist (IR).
THE UPSIDE OF UFE
ADVANTAGES OVER MORE INVASIVE TREATMENTS
- Non-surgical approach that’s minimally invasive
- Preservation of the uterus and ovaries
- Minimal blood loss
- Shorter hospitalization and faster return to work compared to hysterectomy & myomectomy
- Decrease in symptoms caused by fibroids: heavy, prolonged periods; menstrual cramping, and abdominal pain/pressure
- Lower rate of adverse events compared with standard interventional treatments3
If you have any questions about the UFE procedure and other treatment options, talk directly with an Interventional Radiologist (IR) and your GYN.
WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT UFE
POSSIBLE RISKS AND SIDE EFFECTS
Your interventional radiologist will prescribe medications to keep you comfortable while you are recovering. Like any treatment, there can be side effects or complications with UFE that you may experience during your recovery.
- All patients will have some symptoms of Post- Embolization Syndrome (PES). For example, pelvic pain or cramping, nausea, vomiting, fever, or malaise are typical. These symptoms vary per patient and last for a short period of time.
- Rare complications that may appear sometime after the procedure are: reduced blood flow to the leg, allergic drug reactions, infection, uterine ischemia (a decreasing or ineffective blood supply to the uterus), or uteroenteric fistula (an abnormal connection between ureter and gastrointestinal tract).4
- National Women’s Health Network. “Is Uterine Fibroid Embolization Safe?”. Accessed July 2017 (https://www.nwhn.org/uterine-fibroid-embolization-safe/)
- UCLA Health. Fibroid Treatment Options: Uterine Artery Embolization. Accessed July 2017 (https://obgyn.ucla.edu/uterine-artery-embolization)
- RadiologyInfo.org. Uterine Fibroid Embolization; Benefits & Risks. (https://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=ufe#benefits-risks)
- Mayo Clinic. Tests & Procedures: Uterine Artery Embolization. Accessed July, 2017 (https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/uterine-artery-embolization/details/what-you-can-expect/rec-20205362)