Uterine Artery Embolization (UAE) for Fibroids: A Comprehensive Guide

OV Desk

Uterine fibroids, also known as leiomyomas, are non-cancerous tumors that develop in or on the uterus. While they are common and often asymptomatic, some women experience significant symptoms that can impact their quality of life. Uterine Artery Embolization (UAE) is an effective, minimally invasive procedure for treating symptomatic fibroids. This blog will provide an in-depth look at UAE, including its benefits, the procedure itself, and what to expect during recovery.

What is Uterine Artery Embolization (UAE)?

Uterine Artery Embolization is a procedure used to shrink fibroids by cutting off their blood supply. During UAE, tiny particles are injected into the arteries supplying blood to the fibroids. These particles block the blood flow, causing the fibroids to shrink and die over time. UAE is an alternative to more invasive surgical treatments like hysterectomy or myomectomy.

Benefits of UAE

  • Minimally Invasive: UAE is performed through a small incision, reducing the risk of complications and shortening recovery time.
  • Preserves the Uterus: Unlike hysterectomy, UAE allows women to retain their uterus, which can be important for those considering future pregnancies.
  • Effective Symptom Relief: UAE effectively reduces symptoms such as heavy menstrual bleeding, pelvic pain, and pressure.
  • Quick Recovery: Most patients can return to normal activities within a week or two.

Indications for UAE

UAE is recommended for women who:

  • Have symptomatic fibroids causing heavy bleeding, pain, or pressure.
  • Prefer a minimally invasive treatment option.
  • Wish to avoid hysterectomy or myomectomy.
  • Are not planning to become pregnant in the future (as UAE may impact fertility).

The UAE ProcedurePre-Procedure Preparation

  1. Consultation: The first step is a consultation with an interventional radiologist or a gynecologist who specializes in fibroid treatment. During this visit, your medical history, symptoms, and previous treatments will be discussed.
  2. Imaging Tests: To assess the size, number, and location of the fibroids, imaging tests such as an ultrasound or MRI may be performed.
  3. Pre-Procedure Instructions: You will receive specific instructions on how to prepare for the procedure, including fasting for a certain period and stopping certain medications.

During the Procedure

  1. Anesthesia: UAE is usually performed under local anesthesia with sedation, although general anesthesia may be used in some cases.
  2. Catheter Insertion: A small incision is made in the groin area, and a catheter is inserted into the femoral artery. Using X-ray guidance, the catheter is advanced to the uterine arteries.
  3. Embolization: Tiny particles are injected through the catheter into the arteries supplying the fibroids. These particles block the blood flow, causing the fibroids to shrink.
  4. Completion: Once the embolization is complete, the catheter is removed, and the incision site is closed with a small bandage.

Post-Procedure Care

  1. Recovery: After the procedure, you will be monitored in a recovery area for a few hours. Some patients may stay overnight in the hospital for observation.
  2. Pain Management: You may experience cramping and pain for a few days following the procedure. Pain medications will be prescribed to manage this discomfort.
  3. Follow-Up: A follow-up appointment will be scheduled to monitor your recovery and assess the effectiveness of the procedure. Imaging tests may be repeated to evaluate the shrinkage of the fibroids.

UAE Procedure

Uterine Artery Embolization (UAE Procedure) is a highly effective, minimally invasive treatment option for women with symptomatic fibroids. By understanding the procedure, its benefits, and what to expect during recovery, you can make an informed decision about whether UAE is the right choice for you. Always consult with a specialist to discuss your specific condition and treatment options.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact a healthcare provider specializing in fibroid treatment today.

Stay healthy and informed!