Uterine Fibroid Embolization

What is Uterine Fibroid Embolization?

Uterine fibroid embolization is a minimally invasive treatment for non-cancerous fibroid tumors of the uterus. During a uterine fibroid embolization an Interventional Radiologist uses imaging techniques to guide a catheter to the artery that feeds the fibroid.  Small particles are injected directly into the artery that feeds the fibroid.  The particles block the blood supply to the fibroid causing it to shrink.  

How is the Procedure Performed? 

At Tufts Medical Center uterine fibroid embolization is performed by a specially trained radiologist in the Interventional Radiology department. On the day of the procedure you will come in from home and will stay overnight for observation after the procedure is completed. 

In the CVC Suite you will be prepared for the procedure.  The procedure is typically performed under sedation; a radiology nurse will administer medications through your intravenous to keep you comfortable.  Prior to the procedure you will have a catheter inserted into your bladder to drain it of urine.  Once you are positioned on the procedure table your physician may insert a small needle into your abdomen slightly below your naval.  Medication will be administered through the needle to numb the area near the fibroids.  Your groin will then be cleansed and sterilized.  Your physician will then numb the skin and make a small nick where the catheter will be inserted into your artery.  The physician will use X-ray to guide the catheter to the artery that feeds the fibroid.  The fibroid can then be treated with small particles that will block the arteries that feed it, causing the fibroid to shrink.  Once the radiologist has treated the fibroids the catheter is removed and pressure is applied to the arterial puncture site to prevent bleeding. 

What Should I Expect After the Procedure?

At the completion of the procedure you will be monitored in an in-patient unit overnight.  You may experience some discomfort after the procedure which will be controlled with pain medications given to you through either your intravenous or by mouth.  You will have to lie flat for four hours after the procedure while the puncture site heals.  Once you are out of bed and walking the urinary catheter may be removed.  It is expected that you will be able to return to normal activity within a few days after your uterine fibroid embolization.