Uterine Fibroids are benign (non-cancerous) tumors of the uterus, and are the most common tumors of the female genital tract. Fibroids may develop in different parts of the uterus. The interventional radiologists at Suburban Imaging specialize in the diagnosis, treatment and follow-up care of uterine fibroids.
Risk factors include:
Symptoms of uterine fibroids include:
Fibroids are usually diagnosed by your healthcare provider performing a pelvic exam to detect if your uterus is enlarged. Fibroids are then most often confirmed with a pelvic ultrasound, and then further evaluated with an MRI exam. Ultrasound and MRI are painless outpatient diagnostic imaging exams performed at Suburban Imaging.
Drug therapy (prescribing medications such as birth control pills or ibuprofen) is often the first step in treatment. In many patients, symptoms are controlled and no other therapy is required. However, fibroids often grow back after therapy is discontinued.
If drug therapy is not the best option, surgical treatments are often recommended. Surgical procedures to remove fibroids include myomectomy or hysterectomy. Fibroids are the most common reason for a woman to have a hysterectomy in the U.S.
Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) is a minimally-invasive alternative for those who don't want a hysterectomy. UFE is a non-surgical procedure used to shrink fiboids. There is less risk and less pain associated with UFE. Ninety percent of patients with uterine fibroids experience a decrease or resolution of heavy menstrual bleeding, pelvic pain and pressure following UFE.
A Suburban Imaging interventional radiologist will review your ultrasound and MRI imaging studies. You will have a consultation with an interventional radiologist to discuss your symptoms, treatment options and determine if UFE is appropriate for you. The doctor will also go over the details of the procedure, including the benefits and risks.
No general anesthesia
Faster recovery compared to myomectomy or hysterectomy
Typically a one-night hospital stay
Covered by most health insurance plans
UFE is performed at the hospital. After registering at the hospital, you will meet the staff and your interventional radiologist. You will be brought to the procedural suite and receive IV sedation.
A small catheter will be inserted into an artery over your hip and directed into the artery on each side of your uterus. With the catheter in position, tiny, FDA-approved particles will be placed into both uterine arteries, blocking blood flow to the fibroids, which will make the fibroids shrink over time.
The procedure takes about two hours and requires an over-night hospital stay. You will be discharged the following morning. Most women return to normal activities in about a week.
Three months after your UFE procedure, you will have a follow-up visit at Suburban Imaging. You will have an MRI exam and meet with the interventional radiologist who performed your procedure to discuss your results and progress.