The difference between Uterine Fibroid Embolization and Hysterectomy
A uterine fibroid is a non-cancerous tumor that develops within the uterus. Fibroids range in size from tiny to as large as a cantaloupe. Some women may experience no symptoms, and others may experience severe, debilitating symptoms including pelvic pain, cramping, heavy menstrual bleeding, frequent need to urinate, pain during intercourse and fertility problems.
Traditionally, many doctors encouraged patients with fibroids to undergo a hysterectomy, a procedure to remove the uterus. However, for many patients, there is a less invasive option that will allow the patient to keep her uterus and avoid major surgery. The Association of Alexandria Radiologists offers a procedure called Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE), which reduces risk, length of hospital stay and recovery time.
During a UFE procedure, a catheter is inserted through a very small cut in the skin. Tiny particles are injected through the catheter to the artery that supplies blood to the fibroid. Without blood flow, the fibroids shrink and die. Nearly 90% of women who undergo the procedure experience relief from uterine fibroid symptoms.
UFE Risks and Benefits
Although rare, anytime the skin is punctured, there are risks for bleeding and infection.
- Only local anesthesia needed.
- Tiny incision with no stitches or staples necessary.
- Most patients will spend one night in the hospital.
Generally, the patient can return to work in 1-2 weeks.
Is Uterine Fibroid Embolization Right For You?
Uterine fibroids are common among women of child-bearing age and can be found in approximately 25-40% of all women age 35 or older. If you have fibroids and suffer from its painful side effects, schedule a consultation with the Association of Alexandria Radiologists. Our interventional radiology experts can help you understand your condition and treatment options.
The Association of Alexandria Radiologists makes it easy to get your diagnostic imaging with locations in Alexandria and Woodbridge. To schedule your appointment, please call 703-824-3260 today or request an appointment online.