Uterine fibroids are very common non-cancerous (benign) growths that develop in the muscular wall of the uterus. It is estimated that 26 million American women have fibroids. Furthermore, approximately 15 million of them suffer from debilitating symptoms such as heavy menstrual bleeding, bladder problems, intense pelvic pressure or pain, and fertility issues. Fibroids are the cause of more than 200,000 hysterectomies every year. From our perspective, it is optimal to seek treatment that can reduce symptoms and improve quality of life while sustaining reproductive health if at all possible. Uterine Fibroid Embolization may do that.
Types of Fibroids and Their Treatment Options
Not every woman who gets fibroids will experience noticeable symptoms. When they do, it is often related to the type of fibroid they have. More specifically, the location of the fibroids. For example, pelvic pain and back pain may develop due to subserosal fibroids, which develop under the outer lining of the uterus and expand through the uterine wall. Intramural fibroids that form within the uterine lining and expand inward may cause pelvic pain, back pain, and heavy menstrual bleeding. This is the most common type of uterine fibroid. Submucosal fibroids beneath the uterine lining, even when small, can cause prolonged periods and heavy bleeding. Treatment options are planned based on the location, size and severity of fibroids, as well as the patient’s medical history. Options generally include medication, surgery, or non-surgical embolization of the uterine fibroids, which we perform.
What is Uterine Fibroid Embolization?
Uterine fibroid embolization, called UFE, is a minimally-invasive procedure performed by an interventional radiologist. Patients receive sedation and a local or regional anesthetic, and do not experience pain during the procedure. To destroy the fibroids, the radiologist makes a small nick in the skin and inserts a microcatheter into an artery (femoral or radial). The microcatheter is guided to the fibroids using real-time imaging. Particles the size of grains of sand are deposited into the arteries that are supplying blood to the fibroid. Without blood supply, the tumor resolves.
Is Uterine Fibroid Embolization Right for You?
The UFE procedure offers several advantages. First, it destroys the fibroid tumor while preserving the uterus. The minimally-invasive procedure has a low complication rate and short recovery time. All fibroids can be treated in one procedure, and the recurrence rate after UFE is very low.
The Vascular Institute of Virginia offers compassionate care for all venous issues. We are proud to serve the areas of Fairfax, Fredericksburg, and Woodbridge. To learn more about uterine fibroid embolization, call 703-763-5224.