Uterine Artery Embolization

Uterine fibroid embolization is a procedure to shrink noncancerous tumors in the uterus called uterine fibroids. It does not use major surgery, so you may recover faster. You also may not need to stay in the hospital.

Uterine fibroid embolization shrinks fibroids by blocking off their blood supply. The doctor injects very small particles like sand into the arteries that supply the fibroids. The particles stick to the vessel wall. This causes a clot to develop that blocks off the blood supply. Once the blood supply is gone, the fibroids shrink. Your symptoms usually ease or go away over time.

Several types of particles are used for uterine fibroid embolization. These substances have safely been used by doctors for many years.

Why might I need a uterine artery embolization?
The main reason to have a uterine fibroid embolization is to treat uterine fibroid tumors that are causing pain or other problems. Nearly all fibroid tumors are benign or not cancerous. It is rare to have a cancerous fibroid.

About a third to a half of women of childbearing age have fibroids. Not all the tumors are diagnosed because they are too small. The fibroids can range from the size of a pea to as large as a softball or small grapefruit. Uterine fibroid embolization may not be recommended if your fibroids are very large.

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