Interventional Radiology

IRminigraphics-wom.jpg  Uterine Fibroids


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.

Questions? Call our IR nurse:
North Metro: 763.792.1980
South Metro: 952.345.4179



What are the risk factors for uterine fibroids?

Risk factors include:

  • Being female. All women are at risk of getting fibroids.
  • Age. The majority of fibroids are diagnosed and treated in women between the ages of 35-54. However, fibroids can and do occur in women under the age of 35, even women in their early twenties.
  • Race. African-American women are more likely to develop fibroids than other women. It’s estimated that between 50-80% of African-American women will develop fibroids.
  • Family history.

What are the symptoms of uterine fibroids?

Symptoms of uterine fibroids include:

  • Heavy, prolonged monthly periods, sometimes with clots
  • Anemia (fatigue due to low red blood cell count)
  • Pain or pressure between the hip bones or in the back of the legs
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Frequent need to urinate
  • Constipation or bloating
  • An enlarged abdomen

How are uterine fibroids diagnosed?

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.

suburban50188-1.jpg  SICROpenMRI.png  

What are the treatment options for uterine fibroids?

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 is another treatment option.

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.

Benefits of UFE

roundcheck2.jpg No surgery

roundcheck2.jpg No general anesthesia

roundcheck2.jpg Faster recovery compared to myomectomy or hysterectomy

roundcheck2.jpg Typically a one-night hospital stay

roundcheck2.jpg Covered by most health insurance plans

What happens during a UFE procedure?

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.

After the UFE procedure

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.

To speak with our IR nurse about UFE, call:
North Metro: 763.792.1980
South Metro: 952.345.4179


To learn more about uterine fibroids and the UFE procedure, please watch this informational video:

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