Uterine Artery Embolization
Uterine artery embolization, also known as fibroid embolization, is a minimally invasive procedure that blocks blood flow to uterine fibroids, shrinking or destroying the non-cancerous tumors that grow on the uterine walls.
While fibroids do not always cause symptoms, they may lead to future complications and usually require treatment. Traditional treatment can be done with surgery - either a myomectomy to remove the fibroids, or a hysterectomy to remove the entire uterus. Fibroid embolization is a less invasive procedure that is performed under sedation through a blood vessel in the upper thigh. A catheter is first inserted into the blood vessel. A contrast material is then injected into the catheter providing the physician with a visual field of the blood supply to the fibroid. Particles that cut off the blood flow to the fibroid are injected through the catheter which close off the blood supply to the fibroid.
Embolization is proven to be at least 80 percent effective in relieving the symptoms caused by fibroids. Relief is usually noticeable within a few days. Recovery from a fibroid embolization procedure usually takes up to two weeks, and it is considered to be a very safe procedure.