Uterine fibroids are the most common non-cancerous that arise in the muscular wall of the uterus. They can vary in size from small to very large.

The women with fibroids may not have any symptoms but depending upon the size and location there can be pain and heavy bleeding especially during periods.

Most of the patients with heavy bleeding due to uterine fibroids are subjected to removal of uterus by surgery (hysterectomy ). However we have a non surgical treatment of Uterine fibroids in which uterus is preserved especially when patient is in premenopausal age group.

Fibroid Symptoms

  • Heavy, prolonged menstrual periods sometimes with clots.
  • Pelvic pain and pressure
  • Pain in the back and legs
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Bladder pressure leading to a frequent urge to urinate
  • Pressure on the bowel, leading to constipation and bloating
  • Abnormally enlarged abdomen

Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE)

Also known as uterine artery embolization, it is a non surgical , minimally invasive latest technique for fibroid treatment. It is performed through an arterial puncture with a needle in groin  only under local anaesthesia. It does not require general anesthesia.

A tiny nick is made in the skin of the groin and a catheter is inserted into the femoral artery and taken upto the uterine artery. Then few tiny particles of the size of grains of sand are injected into the uterine artery branches that supply block blood to the fibroid tumor and causes it to shrink and die. The blood supply to the rest of the uterus is maintained.

UFE Recovery

Fibroid embolization usually requires a hospital stay of one-two nights.  Medications for pain and mild symptoms like nausea are given. Many women resume light activities in a few days and the majority of women are able to return to normal activities within seven to 10 days.

UFE Efficacy

  • The procedure is successful in 80-90 percent of patients especially who are suffering form heavy bleeding and/or bulk-related symptoms.
  • The procedure is effective for multiple fibroids and large fibroids.
  • Recurrence of treated fibroids is very rare.

Surgery Versus UFE

Surgical treatment for fibroids includes hysterectomy and myomectomy. Hysterectomy is the removal of the uterus and is considered major abdominal surgery. It  requires three to four days of hospitalization and the average recovery period is six weeks.

Myomectomy is also a major surgery that involves cutting out the biggest fibroid or collection of fibroids and then stitching the uterus back together. Most women have multiple fibroids and it is not physically possible to remove all of them.

Advantages of UFE over surgery-

  • No blood loss or risk of blood transfusion.
  • General anesthesia and surgical incisions are avoided.
  • Recovery is shorter than surgery
  • All fibroids are treated at once, which is not the case with myomectomy.
  • UFE recurrence rates are lower than those of myomectomy.

However, UFE is a safe and highly effective alternative treatment for women with symptomatic uterine fibroids.

Ideal patient for uterine fibroid embolization is a post fertility premenopausal female having symptoms due to uterine fibroid and who wishes to retain her uterus.

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