In this new age of medical technology, a hysterectomy surgery is no longer the only choice for women suffering from fibroids. Uterine fibroid embolization, or UFE, is an innovative, minimally invasive procedure that aims to relieve uterine pain, bloating, heavy bleeding during menstruation, and other fibroid symptoms without the pains and expenses of surgery. As is the case with many procedures that have not been utilized for a long amount of time, potential patients may find themselves asking their physicians a multitude of different questions. Among the most popular question asked for UFE is “How long does it take fibroids to shrink after UFE?” At Alate Fibroid Center, we are here to answer this question and more.
WHAT IS UFE?
As previously mentioned, the UFE procedure is a minimally invasive, FDA-approved treatment used to safely and effectively treat fibroids and alleviate their symptoms. While most fibroids grow on the walls of the uterus, severe cases may see them on the lining of the uterus as well. In order to receive a UFE, you can schedule a free consultation at our state-of-the-art facilities. Our medical team will speak with you about your symptoms and the different options you may have. In order to determine if you are a candidate for UFE, we will need to order an MRI of the pelvis. After reviewing your MRI, Dr. Doe will consult with you and discuss your candidacy for the procedure.
When the day comes to receive your UFE, you will enter the procedure room and our staff will walk through the process of receiving the treatment. We do our best to make our patients comfortable before the treatment begins. During the procedure, the interventional radiologist performing the UFE will make a small incision in the upper thigh and insert a needle-thin catheter that will enter the vessels providing blood supply to the fibroid tissue. Tiny particles are sent through the catheter to halt the blood flow and effectively shrink the fibroids, eliminating any symptoms. The procedure only takes about half an hour total and the patient is able to return home the same day.
WHY SHOULD I CHOOSE UFE?
There are many reasons to opt for UFE rather than a hysterectomy. UFE allows those suffering from fibroids the ability to keep their uterus intact – making it the ideal choice for women who wish to treat their fibroids without taking the risks associated with surgery and general anesthesia. Due to its minimally invasive nature, the rate of complications is very low, and usually only consists of side effects any medical procedure may lead to, including menstrual-like cramps, fatigue, or a low-grade fever. The majority of these symptoms can be treated with plentiful rest and pain medication for any pain-related symptoms. The recovery time for UFE is generally only a week.. In summation, many women are choosing UFE because there is no surgery involved, minor to no complications, and the short recovery time.
WITH ALL THAT SAID, HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FIBROIDS TO SHRINK AFTER UFE?
UFE has a success rate of over 90%, with the vast majority of patients experiencing the alleviation of symptoms and a positive effect on their overall quality of life. Rather than a hysterectomy surgery, which has a recovery time of about six weeks, UFE is a minimally invasive treatment that allows for a quick healing process and faster results (depending on the individual.) Some patients find almost immediate relief – the first menstrual cycle after their procedure doesn’t incur severe pain or heavy menstrual bleeding. It may take longer for different patients depending on how quickly their body reacts to the UFE treatment and the size of the fibroid or fibroids.
The majority of shrinkage will almost always take place primarily in the first six months after the procedure. However, it can take up to a year for the fibroids to shrink to their fullest capacity. While the fibroid/fibroids will never completely disappear, effective treatment means that the fibroids have become small enough that the associated symptoms will dissipate. Patients return for a follow-up MRI two months post procedure to assess the amount of shrinkage of the fibroids. (per Dr. Doe) In some cases, our patients have even told us at 24 months after their procedure they are still experiencing improvement.”
The best way to track the progress that your body is making in fibroid shrinking is through diligent attention to your symptoms both before and after undergoing UFE. When you decide you want the treatment, start keeping very close track of the severity of your symptoms and what you wish to see improved. After the procedure, keep listening to your body and your fibroid symptoms. What is changing? How quickly are these changes happening? This process will allow you to keep track of the fibroid shrinkage that will take place over the next six to twelve months.
At Alate Fibroid Center, our experienced fibroid specialists are dedicated to bringing you the most innovative medical technology to treat your fibroids. No matter what symptoms you may be suffering from, we are here to help you find the solution that will benefit you in the most impactful manner. Through compassionate care and a commitment to providing the best treatment to each individual who walks through our doors, the Alate team works hard to help you find the relief that you need. Schedule an appointment today and learn what it feels like to live fibroid free.