Uterine Fibroid Embolization
Uterine Artery Embolization is a procedure performed for symptomatic uterine fibroids. Fibroids that are causing severe menstrual periods and compressing adjacent organs are amenable to this minimally invasive procedure in lieu of hysterectomy. Embolization is a procedure that blocks the blood supply to the fibroids. The procedure has been used successfully by interventional radiologists for more than 20 years to treat bleeding from the uterus due to cancer, blood vessel malformations and complications of pregnancy.
How The Test Is Performed
A small nick in the skin is made at the top of the leg to access the femoral artery. A tiny needle is used to puncture the artery and a small tube (catheter) is inserted into the artery. Using X-ray imaging (fluoroscopy) the catheter is directed into the uterine artery. An arteriogram is performed to provide a road map of the blood supply to the uterus and fibroids. Next, tiny plastic particles (polyvinyl alcohol) are injected into the uterine artery and are carried by the flow of blood into the uterus and to the fibroids eventually wedging into smaller arteries blocking flow.
Nothing to eat or drink after midnight the day prior to the procedure.
Inform The Technologist If:
Chance of pregnancy, allergy to IVP dye or renal disease.
After Your Exam:
Bed Rest for 4 hours. Overnight Hospital Stay. Medications to minimize discomfort and control swelling are given to combat cramping, which is a common side effect. Total recovery generally takes at most 1 to 2 days.
Patients are seen in follow up at 3-6 months with diagnostic imaging to document shrinkage of fibroids.