What happens after a Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE)?


A UFE has several effects on the fibroids and your body, namely that your symptoms should diminish and the fibroids should shrink. Dr. Linda Hughes, M.D., explains more.

“Typically after a uterine fibroid embolization or UFE, three things will happen in terms of a woman’s fibroid uterus. Number one, by cutting off the blood flow it’s going to control the bleeding, and women that are heavy bleeders should have a more normal menstrual cycle, shouldn’t be passing clots, and if they’ve had issues with anemia or low blood counts as a result of the heavy menstrual cycle, that should correct itself.

“Secondly, by cutting off the blood flow, the fibroids that are there should shrink. The amount of shrinkage is extremely variable, and on a low end they shrink as little as 30%, on the high they can shrink as much as 90%, and different fibroids within an individual can shrink different amounts. Just as important is the shrinkage though, is the fact that the fibroids also get softer.

“Pathologists, if they look at a hysterectomy or myomectomy specimen, typically describe fibroids as being like a firm rubber ball. They’re smooth muscle because the uterus is smooth muscle. If they have a specimen after someone has had an embolization procedure, typically they tend to be very soft and mushy, and almost like a scoop of oatmeal.

“And the reason we know this is not that the majority of women after an embolization are going on to have a surgery to have them removed, but the whole way this procedure came about, is that there were certain gynecologists over the years, that used to ask the Interventional Radiologist to embolize the uterine arteries before they did a myomectomy or hysterectomy to minimize bleeding at the time of surgery.

“It was a fellow about 18 years ago in Paris that noticed in the time frame between women having the embolization procedure and then going on to have the surgery that the vast majority of these women were better clinically and didn’t need to have surgery, which is how embolization came about specifically for fibroids as a stand alone treatment.”

See Dr. Suzanne Slonim’s answer to this question.


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