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What is Uterine Fibroid Embolization and is It Safe?

Uterine fibroids are benign tumors that grow in your uterus and can range in size from tiny to about the size of a grapefruit. These noncancerous growths affect at least 35 million American women, and for a large number of them, fibroids cause troublesome symptoms that require medical care.

When the symptoms associated with uterine fibroids interfere with your ability to live your life, it’s time to take action. At Alate Health in Houston, Texas, board-certified radiologist Dr. Andrew Doe specializes in treating uterine fibroids without surgery using minimally-invasive uterine fibroid embolization (UFE).

If you’re ready to put the negative effects of uterine fibroids behind you, read on to learn more about the embolization procedure and whether it’s a safe choice for you!

What are the symptoms of uterine fibroids?

Although uterine fibroids are not typically cancerous, that doesn’t mean fibroids don’t cause problematic symptoms. Symptoms may vary based on the number of fibroids you have as well as their size and their placement in your uterus. 

The most common symptoms of fibroids include:

Some women with uterine fibroids have no symptoms at all, although this is fairly uncommon. If you’re suffering from the negative symptoms of fibroids, uterine fibroid embolization could be the right solution for you. 

What is uterine fibroid embolization?

Fibroids use a supply of blood to continue to grow. Uterine fibroid embolization takes advantage of this by cutting off the blood supply to uterine fibroids. A tiny catheter is inserted into the vessels, and particles are placed to block blood flow. The result? Your fibroids shrink, causing a dramatic reduction in pain, heavy bleeding, and other uncomfortable symptoms — without surgery! 

Radiology expert Dr. Doe uses imaging technology to ensure only the appropriate blood vessels are targeted. This minimally-invasive procedure requires only a tiny incision, typically takes 90 minutes or less, and is performed on an outpatient basis at Alate Health’s outpatient facility. 

Is uterine fibroid embolization safe?

When performed by an experienced radiologist, like Dr. Doe, UFE is considered by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology as a safe and effective treatment for uterine fibroids in women who do not want to become pregnant. Complications are rare but include bleeding at the incision site, infection, and early onset menopause for women over 40. 

When you schedule your UFE procedure with Alate Health, you’re in good hands. As one of the most experienced interventional radiologists in the Houston area, Dr. Doe performs more UFE procedures daily than any other physician in the area. 

While studies show that UFE is at least 85% effective in reducing bleeding and alleviating pain, over 90% of our patients experience dramatic relief and improvement in their quality of life. In addition to exceptional outcomes, Alate Health patients benefit from exceptional post-procedure care that’s unavailable at other facilities. 

Is uterine fibroid embolization the right choice for me?

UFE is an effective treatment option for uterine fibroids, but it’s not right for everyone. The best way to determine if UFE is right for you is through a consultation at Alate Health. During your appointment, your care providers review your current symptoms, medical history, and order an MRI to determine the number and size of the fibroids you have.

UFE is most effective in fibroids that are not extremely large, so if your fibroids are especially big, it may not be a good option. If you’re hoping to avoid surgery, are looking for a safe and effective alternative to a hysterectomy, and have completed childbearing, UFE may be the right choice for you.

If you’re suffering from the negative symptoms of uterine fibroids and want to learn more about UFE, contact the specialists at Alate Health or schedule a consultation by calling 713-893-0650 today!

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