Take a look at our frequently asked questions. Should you have any more questions regarding UFE, or would like to speak with a member of our staff about scheduling a consultation, give us a call at 713-955-1707.
Why should I treat my fibroids?
Roughly 25%-50% of the female population develops fibroids during their reproductive years. Although fibroids often are asymptomatic and do not require treatment, symptomatic fibroids can significantly disrupt many women’s lives. In fact, symptomatic fibroids are the most common cause of abnormal menstrual bleeding. Additionally, fibroids can result in uterine enlargement causing abdominal distention, pelvic pressure, urinary frequency, and mass effect on other adjacent organs/structures. Infertility or late miscarriages can also occur as a result of uterine fibroids.
Is Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) safe?
Hundreds of thousands of women have been treated with UFE. In total, the major complication rate is less than undergoing a hysterectomy. There is also little to no scarring involved.
How does UFE work?
Uterine fibroid embolization works by releasing small particles into the arteries that feed the fibroids, which plug up and decrease the blood supply to the fibroids. Without a good blood supply, the fibroids degenerate and decrease in size. When the fibroids shrink, the symptoms from multiple and/or enlarged fibroids improve.
How often is the procedure effective?
Uterine artery embolization (UAE) evolved as a treatment for symptomatic uterine fibroids in the early 1990s. Since that time, success rates have been reported to range from 94%-99%. Patient satisfaction rates have been reported as high as 90%.
What are typical complications and how often do they occur?
The overall percentage of women who have experienced major complications associated with uterine fibroid embolization is low (less than 4%). Complications are very rare, but include bleeding from the puncture site, premature menopause (non-target embolization), uterine infarction, or infection (which must be treated with hysterectomy).
Is the procedure painful?
During the procedure you will receive medications to relax you and block pain, so patients do not feel pain during the procedure. Many of our patients will sleep through the procedure. After the procedure during the initial recovery period, most patients will experience severe cramping pain during the first 4-8 hours that we are able to manage with IV pain medications.
Does the procedure require a hospital stay?
The procedure is safely performed in our office and a hospital stay is not required. You will have a private recovery room where you will be monitored frequently and where your pain will be managed by our nursing staff.
How long should I expect to be off work? When can I return to normal activities?
When you return to work is determined by your pain medication regimen. Most women switch from opioid pain medication to over-the-counter pain relief medication and are able to go back to work 3-7 days following the procedure.
Is it possible to get pregnant after UFE?
While UFE is not the gold-standard for patients wishing to retain fertility, there is a large series of patients (over 550) in which the pregnancy and complication rate, compared to normal patients, was no different. In summary, although it is possible to have children after having a uterine artery (UFE) embolization, UFE is not currently recommended should you wish to retain fertility.
Am I a candidate for UFE?
The best way to determine if UFE is right for you is to make an appointment to speak with our doctor. During consultation, he will review your symptoms and medical history to determine if you are a candidate. There is no obligation to proceed with the procedure.
Will my insurance company cover the procedure?
Most insurance plans will cover this procedure. We will contact your insurance company prior to scheduling your procedure to determine if it is covered. We will also let you know what your financial responsibility is prior to scheduling.