Uterine artery embolization

27 Oct Uterine artery embolization

Fibroids are benign tumors arising from the muscular wall of the uterus. In many women they are asymptomatic and causing no disturbance and hence they do not require any treatment. In some women they may be multiple or large or rapidly growing and associated with menstrual disturbances , pelvic pain , pressure effects on other organs surrounding the uterus or causing subfertility and in these women medical or surgical treatment options may be considered. 

Uterine Artery Embolization

Uterine artery embolization (UAE) is a non-surgical option for treating fibroids. This treatment is recommended if the fibroids are causing symptoms like heavy and /or painful menstrual bleeding or are causing pressure effects on bladder or bowel. Women who require treatment of fibroids but in whom surgery is considered “high risk” would also benefit from UAE procedure.

What is UAE? 

It is a minimally invasive way ( non-surgical option) of treating fibroids by blocking the arteries that feed the fibroids (blocks the blood supply of fibroids) and this then results in  reduction in the size of the fibroids. UAE is performed by a doctor who is trained in interpreting X-rays and scans. (interventional radiologist). During the procedure, a chemical is injected by using a small tube that is guided by X-ray from the blood vessel in your leg.

Why do you need UAE procedure?

Fibroids may cause disabling pelvic pain, menstrual disturbances and pressure symptoms in many women. UAE provides relief from these problems by shrinking the fibroids in many women. It appeals to many women because it an alternative to surgical treatment of fibroids (myomectomy).

The fibroids however do not disappear and UAE may not be offered to women with:

  • Subfertility
  • Large subserosal fibroids
  • Active or chronic pelvic infection
  • Intracavitary/ Submucosal fibroids
  • Allergies to contrast media used in procedure
  • Women with suspected pelvic cancer

How to prepare for uterine fibroid embolization? 

You need to be an in-patient to get this treatment done. A sedative is given to relive anxiety. Make sure you tell your doctor in advance if you have any type of allergies or if you have reacted to intravenous contrast medium that is the dye used for x-rays and scanning. So, keep your doctor well informed about it.

What happens during uterine fibroid embolization? 

The skin and deeper tissues over the artery in the groin will be sedated with local anaesthetic, and then a needle will be inserted into this artery. Once the interventional radiologist is satisfied that this is correctly positioned, a guide wire is placed through the needle, and into this artery. Then the needle is withdrawn allowing a fine, plastic tube, called a catheter, to be placed over the wire and into this artery. A special X-ray dye, called contrast medium, is injected to the catheter into these uterine arteriesand blood supply of fibroids is mapped.These small blood vessels are then blocked so that the fibroid is starved of its blood supply.

Will it hurt? 

Local anesthetic is injected before the procedure is started to numb the area. Also, during painkillers are given to keep you away from the pain. As the dye, or contrast medium, passes around your body, you may get a warm feeling, which some people can find a little unpleasant. However, this soon passes and should not concern you. 

How long will the procedure take? 

The situation varies from person to person. In some cases it does not take much time, perhaps half an hour and in some it might take some more time, perhaps an hour. 

Are there any risks or complications? 

UAE is a very safe procedure .There can however be some risks and complications relate to this procedure.

  • Uterine and pelvic infection (rare)
  • Damage to a blood vessel while performing the procedure
  • Reduction in blood supply to the ovaries and risk of early menopause
  • Possible problems in future pregnancies

These are all in frequent and usually the procedure is well tolerated and accepted by women. Take rest, as you might feel tired for a week or so following the procedure. Triveni Obs and Gynae clinic has specialization in UAE treatment. So, if you have any query or questions you can schedule an appointment to meet Dr Manavita Mahajan or you can call us at +91- 9810583876

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