Uterine Fibroid Embolization

Uterine fibroids are benign tumors that occur in the uterus. It is estimated that 40% of all women have uterine fibroids but only about 25% are symptomatic. The most common symptom is increased or abnormal menstrual bleeding. Other symptoms may include pelvic pain, bloating and urinary incontinence or frequency.

Fibroids are usually diagnosed on physical examination and with a pelvic ultrasound or MRI imaging. Surgical options for fibroids include myomectomy and hysterectomy. Myomectomy is the removal of the fibroid only, while hysterectomy is the complete removal of the uterus.

Uterine fibroid embolization is a minimally invasive procedure for the treatment of symptomatic uterine fibroids. Fibroids depend on a very rich blood supply. Embolization interrupts this blood supply. To perform this procedure, the radiologist performs an angiogram. A small catheter is inserted into the groin and advanced to the uterine arteries supplying the fibroids.

Small particles are then injected into these vessels. These particles block the blood supply to the fibroids causing them to shrink or degenerate. Following the procedure, bleeding stops immediately. Tumors decrease in size over the following several weeks.

The interventional radiologists at St. Joseph’s Imaging are available for consultation regarding this procedure.

For additional information regarding interventional radiology, please visit Society of Interventional Technology.