What is uterine fibroid embolization?
Uterine fibroid embolization is a treatment to destroy or shrink fibroids. Fibroids are growths on or in your uterus. Sometimes they're called fibroid tumors, but they aren't cancer.
You may be awake during the procedure. But you will get medicine to help with pain. And you may be given medicine to help you relax. First the doctor will put a thin, flexible tube into a blood vessel in the upper thigh. The tube is called a catheter. Then the doctor sends a solution through the catheter. It prevents your fibroids from getting blood. Without blood, the fibroids shrink or die.
The treatment usually takes 1 to 3 hours. After the procedure, you may stay in the hospital overnight or go home the same day.
You may have some pain for a few hours to a few days. But sometimes pain can last for a couple of weeks. It may take about 1 to 2 weeks to fully recover.
This treatment should reduce pain and bleeding from fibroids.
How do you prepare for the procedure?
Procedures can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for your procedure.
Preparing for the procedure
- Be sure you have someone to take you home. Anesthesia and pain medicine will make it unsafe for you to drive or get home on your own.
- Understand exactly what procedure is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
- If you take a medicine that prevents blood clots, your doctor may tell you to stop taking it before your procedure. Or your doctor may tell you to keep taking it. (These medicines include aspirin and other blood thinners.) Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
- Tell your doctor ALL the medicines, vitamins, supplements, and herbal remedies you take. Some may increase the risk of problems during your procedure. Your doctor will tell you if you should stop taking any of them before the procedure and how soon to do it.
- Make sure your doctor and the hospital have a copy of your advance directive. If you don't have one, you may want to prepare one. It lets others know your health care wishes. It's a good thing to have before any type of surgery or procedure.
What happens on the day of the procedure?
Follow the instructions exactly about when to stop eating and drinking. If you don't, your procedure may be canceled. If your doctor told you to take your medicines on the day of the procedure, take them with only a sip of water.
Take a bath or shower before you come in for your procedure. Do not apply lotions, perfumes, deodorants, or nail polish.
Take off all jewelry and piercings. And take out contact lenses, if you wear them.
At the hospital or surgery center
Bring a picture ID.
You will be kept comfortable and safe by your anesthesia provider. You may get medicine that relaxes you or puts you in a light sleep. The area being worked on will be numb.
The procedure will take about 1 to 3 hours.
When should you call your doctor?
- You have questions or concerns.
- You don't understand how to prepare for your procedure.
- You become ill before the procedure (such as fever, flu, or a cold).
- You need to reschedule or have changed your mind about having the procedure.
Where can you learn more?
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
Enter C717 in the search box to learn more about "Uterine Fibroid Embolization: Before Your Procedure".
Current as of: August 2, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Sarah Marshall MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Kirtly Jones MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology