Is Uterine Fibroid Embolization Safe

Do you have any recent studies or information on Uterine Fibroid Embolization? I’m considering this procedure and everything I read says it is safe – I’m hoping that is what you’ve heard too!

 

Uterine fibroids are a very common women’s health topic that is typically not a cause for worry. Uterine fibroids are benign lumps of tissue and muscle that form in and around the uterus. The most common symptoms include heavy bleeding and abdominal pain. Many women with fibroids do not experience symptoms. If your symptoms are affecting your quality of life or physical health, there are different treatment options available to help minimize symptoms. It is important to explore all treatment methods to make the decision that is best for you.

Uterine Artery Embolization (UAE), also known as uterine fibroid embolization, is the least invasive procedure used to treat fibroids. This procedure was introduced in the U.S. in 1997 and is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). UAE is used to shrink fibroids by cutting off their blood supply. The procedure involves a woman going under moderate sedation and an incision made in her groin. A catheter is used to inject small particles of polyvinyl alcohol (a type of plastic) into the uterine arteries. The bloodstream carries the particles and places them next to the fibroids, which result in inhibiting the fibroids’ blood supply. UAE is not 100 percent effective, and fibroid growth can still occur after the procedure. UAE is not recommended for women interested in preserving their fertility because there is an increased risk of abnormal placentation, restrictions on intrauterine growth, premature birth and an increased chance of cesarean delivery following these surgeries. Additionally, there is a lack of long-term data for UAE; therefore, it is not considered a standard of care.

Other surgical procedures include myomectomy and hysterectomy. Myomectomy involves the surgical removal of fibroids in small pieces. Hysterectomy involves the surgical removal of the uterus. It is important to remember that not all fibroids require surgery. Be sure to consult with your healthcare provider before starting any treatment method. If you are considering UAE, remember that with all surgeries come various risks. In the case of UAE, one prominent risk is the unpredictable effect it will have on your fertility.

 

For more information about uterine fibroids, see these sources:

Background information on uterine fibroids: https://www.nwhn.org/uterine-fibroids/

Uterine fibroid treatment methods: https://www.ucsfhealth.org/conditions/fibroids/treatment.html

For more information on Uterine Fibroid Embolization: http://www.medstargeorgetown.org/our-services/radiology/interventional-radiology/treatments/uterine-fibroid-embolization/#q={}

For more information on hysterectomy: https://www.nwhn.org/hysterectomy/

 

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