What is Uterine Fibroid Embolization?
Uterine fibroids are benign growths – meaning they don’t raise your risk of cancer – but they can cause serious side effects that include heavy uterine bleeding and pain. At Excel Medical Imaging in New Port Richey, Florida, within the Tampa Bay area, the expert diagnostic and interventional radiologists offer uterine fibroid embolization for problematic fibroids. Call the office or schedule an appointment online if you suffer serious side effects of uterine fibroids and need relief.
What are fibroids?
Fibroids are benign growths inside or outside of your uterus. They’re made up of fibrous tissue and muscle. Often, you don’t even notice that you have fibroids, but they can also cause symptoms, such as:
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Frequent urination
- Painful or crampy periods
- Pain during sex
- Problems with fertility
- Lower back or leg pain
Fibroids are incredibly common, with 20-40% of women between the ages of 35 and 50 having them. Nonsurgical options are available for treatment, so there’s no need to suffer.
Your doctor may find uterine fibroids during a regular pelvic exam. Confirmation of the fibroids is done with ultrasound imaging or an MRI, both of which are available at Excel Medical Imaging.
What is uterine fibroid embolization?
An embolization is a minimally invasive, nonsurgical approach to treating fibroids. The procedure is performed by an interventional radiologist, a physician who specializes in minimally invasive operations and procedures.
At Excel Medical Imaging, one of the skilled interventional radiologists performs the procedure by weaving a small plastic catheter into the uterine artery and to the vessels supplying blood to the fibroids. Small beads are delivered through the catheter to prevent blood from reaching the fibroids so they can no longer survive. They shrink in size and disappear. The procedure is 90% effective in reducing symptoms associated with uterine fibroids.
You’re given oral pain medications and local anesthesia for the procedure. It’s performed on an outpatient basis, so you go home the same day to recover.
What should I do in advance of uterine fibroid embolization?
Prior to uterine fibroid embolization, you’ll meet with your interventional radiologist to learn what to expect before, during, and after the procedure. You should have had a pelvic exam within a year of having the fibroid embolization as well as basic blood work, such as a blood count.
On the day of the procedure, you’ll be prescribed oral antibiotics as well as pain medication to take the night before and the morning of the embolization. You’ll fast for 6-8 hours beforehand and arrive at the office early for insertion of an IV.
What should I expect during recovery from uterine fibroid embolization?
You may have some uterine cramping right after the procedure, which can feel like intense menstrual pain. Over-the-counter pain medications help with the discomfort, which resolves in just a few days.
Complications caused by uterine fibroid embolization are extremely rare, and you can go back to work in just a few days.
Will my fertility or hormones be affected by the uterine fibroid embolization?
Early studies show that uterine fibroid embolization is better at preserving fertility in women of childbearing age compared to surgical myomectomy (fibroid removal.) The team at Excel Medical Imaging will advise you thoroughly about how the procedure could affect fertility. In some women, especially those older than 40, the procedure can trigger perimenopause and menopause.
To learn more about uterine fibroid embolization as a solution for your pelvic pain and other symptoms, call Excel Medical Imaging or book an appointment online.