Preparing for Uterine Fibroid Embolization (Fibroid Treatment Procedure)
Do not eat or drink after midnight on the evening before the procedure to prepare for your fibroid operation. If you are taking medications, ask your doctor if you should stop taking them before or after the procedure. On the morning of the procedure, the interventional radiology team as well as the nursing and radiographic staff who will assist with the procedure will meet you. You will have an intravenous drip inserted, which will allow the administration of necessary medication, including for pain relief medication and antibiotics as needed during the fibroid embolisation treatment.
During the Fibroid Treatment Procedure
To prepare for your fibroid operation, a sedation is used to reduce pain, yet allows you to breathe on your own, respond to questions and report any discomfort. To see your uterus and blood vessels, the radiologist uses x-ray guidance. The radiologist makes an incision less than 2 millimeters in the skin over your femoral artery, then inserts a catheter into the artery and guides the catheter to one of the two uterine arteries. An injected contrast fluid, containing iodine, flows into the uterine artery and its branches and makes them visible on a monitor during the fibroid embolisation treatment.
The radiologist identifies and maps the vessels leading to the fibroids, and then injects the branches with tiny particles designed to block these vessels. After injecting more contrast into the uterine artery, the radiologist checks additional images to make sure that blood is no longer reaching the fibroids. The same steps are then repeated in the second uterine artery. Generally, the radiologist can access both uterine arteries through one incision. No general anaesthesia is required!
After the Fibroid Treatment Procedure
In the recovery room, staff members monitor your condition and give you medication to control nausea and pain.
You must lie flat for several hours to promote clotting of the blood (hematoma) at the femoral artery puncture site. Pain is the primary side effect of uterine artery embolization. Pain usually peaks during the first 24 hours. To manage the pain, you receive medication through the intravenous drip in your vein. Usually, the medication will be an opioid, such as morphine, although no steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be added or used instead. We offer our patients, ‘patient controlled analgesia’ (PCA), a system that delivers a dose of pain medication to your bloodstream through a vein when you press a button. By the next day, oral pain medications usually can replace IV medications. You are encouraged to walk around. Recovery is generally rapid, and complications are rare.
Recovery from Fibroid Treatment
Most women return home the day after the procedure with a prescription for oral pain medication. Pain usually lasts for a few days but is well controlled with the oral medication and usually resolves within 10-14 days.
Monitor your recovery for potential complications:
Vaginal discharge. You might have a watery or mucus-like vaginal discharge after uterine artery embolization. The discharge should stop without treatment. In a few women, remnants of fibroids are passed through the vagina. The discharge isn’t dangerous and usually stops on its own.
Infection. Return to your obstetrician-gynecologist or primary care doctor for a follow-up examination within six weeks of the procedure to make sure there’s no infection. Signs and symptoms of infection include fever, chills and pain.
RESULTS – Studies have shown that uterine artery embolization reduces symptoms such as heavy bleeding, urinary incontinence and abdominal enlargement in 90 percent or more of women who undergo the procedure to treat their fibroids. These results are comparable to that of myomectomy, in which the fibroids are surgically removed and the uterus repaired. Request a consultation
Consultation with Fibroid Care does not require a physician referral.
+27 (0)79 810 9423
Mon – Fri 08:00-18:00
Netcare Femina Hospital
460 Belvedere Street
What Patients Say
The result for me is I don’t feel tired anymore. I feel younger than I was then. I have far more energy and a flatter looking tummy. It’s been just over a year now. My fibroid is still there but it is a lot smaller and lighter
Before UFE, during my cycle I would bleed for 10 days. But after UFE I only bled for 3-4 days and significantly less. All the other symptoms I experienced before had improved as soon as three months. I had so much energy afterward. I even started running—it was that drastic
I was thrilled to find an option other than major surgery to solve my problems with fibroids. Better yet was the fact that my recovery was days, not weeks. I missed only one day of work and was swimming even before returning to work. As time passes, I continue to be thankful for this procedure and for Dr Lawson being there throughout the embolization as well as for his continuing follow ups.