Uterine Fibroids

What are uterine fibroids?

Uterine fibroids are benign growths in or on the walls of the uterus, or womb. They can range from less than an inch to more than six inches in diameter. African-American and Hispanic women and women with a family history of fibroids are more likely to develop fibroids. Most fibroids are asymptomatic, and are only
discovered when a woman has a routine pelvic examination.

What are the symptoms?

If you do experience fibroid symptoms, they may include:

  • Heavy, prolonged menstrual periods, sometimes with clots

  • Anemia (fatigue due to low red blood count)

  • Pain during sexual intercourse

  • Pain or pressure between the hip bones or in the back of the legs

  • Urinary frequency

  • Constipation or bloating

  • An enlarged belly

What is Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE)?

Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) is performed by an interventional radiologist (IR), a doctor who uses x-rays and other imaging techniques to see inside the body and treat conditions without surgery. During the UFE procedure, you are given sedation medication, but remain conscious. The IR inserts a catheter (a thin, hollow tube) into your upper thigh, or into your wrist, to access your artery. Tiny, round beads - each measuring about the size of a grain of sand - are injected into the catheter and into each fibroid-feeding vessel. These tiny beads block the flow of blood to the fibroids, causing the fibroids to shrink and relieving symptoms.

Is it right for me?

Patients who are an ideal candidate for UFE include women who:

 

  • Have symptomatic fibroids

  • Want to keep their uterus

  • Do not want surgery

  • Want a faster recovery time

  • May not be a good candidate for surgery