What is the Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) procedure like?


UFE is a relatively quick and less invasive treatment, and often you are sent home the same day, depending on where you have the procedure. Dr. Linda Hughes, M.D., describes more about this process.

“The typical uterine fibroid embolization procedure is done under what we call a twilight sedation or moderate sedation, where patients are given Versed to make them sleepy and Fetanyl which is for pain control. The procedure can take anywhere from 30-60 minutes and what we typically do is, using sterile technique, we numb up the tissues in the right groin, in the hip area. We make a little tiny nick in the skin, and we insert a catheter, which is like IV tubing.

“Under x-ray through that catheter we inject a dye, and we get a road map to see what the blood supply looks like to the fibroid tissue. Typically it comes from both the left and the right uterine arteries, that you need to embolize both of those in order to have a successful result. Once we identify the abnormal blood vessels to be embolized under x-ray, we’re able to guide the catheter into the uterine arteries. We confirm that we’re in a safe spot and then we inject our gelatin beads. We do the left side, we do the right side, and we take a final picture to confirm that we’ve treated all of the branches that we think are necessary.

“After that, typically patients are on bed rest between three to six hours, and depending on if it’s an outpatient center, are discharged home later that day. In a hospital environment they will be discharged home after breakfast the next morning.”

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


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