Uterine Fibroid Embolization

UFE blocks the blood supply to fibroids, causing them to shrink. It is clinically proven to reduce the major symptoms of fibroids, including pain, excessive and prolonged bleeding, and frequent urination. UFE is minimally invasive, requiring only a small nick in the skin. The procedure last less than an hour, and patients return to work in an average of 11 days.

UFE is performed by an interventional radiologist, a doctor who uses X-rays and other imaging techniques to see inside the body and treat conditions without surgery. During UFE, you are given sedation but remain awake. The radiologist inserts a thin tube into an artery at the top of your thigh, then uses X-ray imaging to guide the tube to the uterine artery. Tiny round particles called microspheres are injected into the blood vessels that lead to the fibroids. They block the blood flow, causing the fibroids to shrink. The microspheres remain permanently at the fibroid site. The process is repeated in your other uterine artery for complete blockage of blood to the fibroid.

If you need treatment for fibroid symptoms but want to avoid surgery, UFE may be right for you. Your gynecologist can provide a referral to an interventional radiologist who can help you decide based on your medical history and the size and location of your fibroids.

Patients who are ideal for UFE include women who:

  • Have symptomatic fibroids
  • Do not intend to get pregnant in the future
  • Want to keep their uterus
  • Do not want surgery
  • Want an overnight or outpatient hospital stay
  • May not be good candidates for surgery

Benefits of UFE

  • Shorter hospital stay
    • UFE one day or less
    • Hysterectomy 2.3 days
  • Return to work faster
    • UFE 10.7 days
    • Hysterectomy 32.5 days
  • Fewer complications (after 30 days)
    • UFE 12.7%
    • Hysterectomy 32%

Ask your gynecologist if UFE might be an option in the treatment of your fibroids. At DRA, Duncan J Belcher, M.D., Chief of Radiology at Waterbury Hospital, a Yale trained interventional radiologist, has been performing this procedure at Waterbury Hospital for several years.