Roughly 25%-50% of women will develop fibroids during their reproductive years. Although some women have fibroids that do not require treatment (non-symptomatic), symptomatic fibroids can result in significant health issues that impact your life.
Symptomatic fibroids are the most common cause of abnormal menstrual bleeding that can lead to embarrassing accidents and even anemia. Additionally, fibroids can result in uterine enlargement causing abdominal distention, pelvic pressure, urinary frequency, and mass effect on other adjacent organs/structures. Fibroids can also cause infertility or late miscarriages. You should seek treatment if you have symptoms that are interfering with your life.
Thousands of women have been treated with UFE worldwide. The major complication rate is less than undergoing a hysterectomy. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) sets the standards for women’s gynecological care. ACOG recognizes UFE as a very safe and effective alternative to surgery for the treatment of fibroids.
Small particles are released into the arteries that feed the fibroids, which plug up and decrease the blood supply to the fibroids. Without good blood supply, the fibroids degenerate and decrease in size. When the fibroids shrink, the symptoms from multiple and/or enlarged fibroids improve.
Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) evolved as a treatment for symptomatic uterine fibroids in the early 1990s. Since that time, success rates have been reported to range from 94%-99%. Patient satisfaction rates have been reported as high as 90%. It is recognized by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists as being a highly effective treatment for fibroids.
The overall percentage of women who have experienced major complications associated with uterine fibroid embolization is low (less than 4%). Complications are very rare, but include bleeding from the puncture site, premature menopause (non-target embolization), uterine infarction or infection (which must be treated with hysterectomy).
During the procedure you will receive medications that will block pain and help you to relax. Many of our patients sleep through the procedure. After the procedure, you will experience some cramping that is effectively managed with IV pain medication during the recovery period.
The procedure is safely performed at our outpatient facility and a hospital stay is not required. You will have a comfortable private recovery room where you will be monitored frequently by our highly skilled medical staff.
Unlike hysterectomy, the recovery time for uterine fibroid embolization is very short. Most women switch from their prescription pain medication to over-the-counter pain relief medication and are able to go back to work within 3 to 7 days.
While UFE is not the gold-standard for patients wishing to retain fertility, there is a large series of patients (over 550) in which the pregnancy and complication rate, compared to normal patients, was no different. In summary, although it is possible to have children after uterine fibroid embolization, we typically do not recommend UFE if you wish to retain fertility.
The best way to determine if UFE is right for you is to schedule a consultation at Alate Health. During your consultation, we will review your symptoms and medical history to determine if you may be a candidate. After the consultation, an MRI will be ordered to verify the number and size of the fibroids before determining if you are a candidate.
Most insurance plans cover uterine fibroid embolization. Some insurance plans cover 100% of the procedure costs. After your initial consultation, we will contact your insurance company prior to scheduling your procedure to determine coverage and your financial responsibility.