Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE)

What is uterine fibroid embolization?
UFE is a minimally invasive treatment for benign fibroid tumors of the uterus. These tumors arise from the muscular wall of the uterus. It is extremely rare for them to turn cancerous. More commonly, they cause heavy menstrual bleeding, pain in the pelvic region and pressure on the bladder or bowel.

How does a uterine fibroid embolization work?
For a UFE, Gwinnett Medical Center uses a real-time X-ray, called fluoroscopy, to guide the delivery of small particles to the uterus and fibroids. The small particles are injected through a thin, flexible tube called a catheter. These block the arteries that provide blood flow, causing the fibroids to shrink. Nearly 90 percent of women with fibroids experience relief of their symptoms.

What are the benefits of a uterine fibroid embolization?

  • Uterine fibroid embolization, done under local anesthesia, is much less invasive than open surgery done to remove uterine fibroids or the whole uterus (hysterectomy).
  • No surgical incision is needed—only a small nick in the skin that does not have to be stitched shut.
  • Patients can ordinarily resume their usual activities weeks earlier than if they had a hysterectomy.
  • Blood loss during uterine fibroid embolization is minimal, the recovery time is much shorter than for hysterectomy and general anesthesia is not required.
  • Ninety percent of women who have a uterine fibroid embolization experience either significant or complete resolution of their fibroid-related symptoms.
  • Studies over several years show it is rare for treated fibroids to re-grow or for new fibroids to develop.

Because the effect of uterine fibroid embolization on fertility is not fully understood, UFE is typically offered to women who no longer wish to become pregnant or who want or need to avoid having a hysterectomy (an operation to remove the uterus).

Gwinnett Medical Center Imaging has three convenient Atlanta-area locations, in Lawrenceville, Hamilton Mill and Duluth.

If you would like to schedule an appointment, please call 678-312-3444.

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