Uterine Artery Embolization
UTERINE ARTERY EMBOLIZATION Q & A
What Is UAE?
Performed by an interventional radiologist, UAE is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat fibroids. UAE blocks the blood supply to uterine fibroids, causing fibroid tumors to shrink. The procedure is done through a tiny nick the size of a grain of rice while the patient is sedated. For women who are not planning a pregnancy in the future, UAE is a viable option in place of traditional fibroid surgery such as hysterectomy or myomectomy.
How Is UAE Performed?
An interventional radiologist makes a tiny nick in the skin, either in the femoral artery (groin) or radial artery (wrist). The physician then inserts a catheter into the artery.
Using real-time imaging, the physician guides the catheter through the artery. Tiny particles are then released into the uterine arteries that supply blood to the fibroid tumors. This blocks blood supply to the fibroids, causing them to shrink.
Patients go home the same day as the procedure. Recovery time is about one week, allowing the patient to return to daily activities faster than with traditional fibroid surgery. Since there is no incision, the patient heals with almost no scarring.
What Are the Benefits of UAE?
UAE may reduce the need for hysterectomy. It is an effective alternative to surgery and hormonal treatment.
- Completely non-invasive: No surgery and no blood loss
- Faster recovery: Quick return to normal activities, typically in 7-10 days
- Preserves the uterus, cervix and ovaries
- No incision: minimal, if any, scarring
- Reduction, or complete disappearance of fibroid symptoms
- Significant improvement in a patient’s quality of life
What to Expect from UAE?
Before the procedure, local anesthetic is applied to the area where the catheter will be inserted. Patients are given a sedative to help them relax before the procedure. After UAE, most women find relief from fibroid symptoms. They experience lighter periods and less pain, enabling them to lead more active lives. Patients often report a decrease in menstrual bleeding from symptomatic fibroids, a decrease in urinary dysfunction, and reduced to little pelvic pain and/or pressure after the UAE procedure.