Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE)
Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous growths in the uterus. Fibroids can interfere with pregnancy, cause infection, infertility, back pain, heavy periods and anemia and block the urinary tract or bowels. Fibroids are quite common, especially as women age; they usually shrink or disappear by menopause. If fibroids interfere with health or quality of life, an effective non-surgical treatment known as uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) can help relieve the condition.
Emerson Hospital physicians at the Yeatts Radiology Center use UFE for the treatment of many uterine fibroids. UFE is a non-surgical, minimally invasive procedure that blocks blood flow to fibroids in the uterus. During UFE patients are lightly sedated. A catheter is threaded into a blood vessel in the upper thigh and an interventional radiologist uses angiography to identify the arteries that supply blood to the fibroid. The blood supply is then blocked or embolized with multiple tiny, coated microspheres. Endorsed by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists for treatment of fibroids, UFE offers an 85–95% success rate. UFE is an effective treatment option for about two-thirds of women with symptomatic fibroids. Women who are not candidates for UFE include those whose fibroids are not causing symptoms, those whose fibroids are on a thin stalk, something that can be determined with an imaging test, and those who are likely to become pregnant. Some patients have successful pregnancies after having UFE, but research indicates that myomectomy—the surgical removal of fibroids—may be a better option for these patients.
UFE is an outpatient procedure, performed in the Emerson Interventional Radiology Suite. It does not require cuts in the skin, and most women recover in less than a week.
Support Services and Groups
Emerson offers a wide range of community health and wellness programs and classes designed to provide women with up-to-date information so they can take care of their health and make informed health care decisions. These programs address a wide range of topics including sports medicine, cosmetic surgery, heart-healthy eating with cooking demonstrations, the latest information on preventing and treating heart disease, programs that use hypnosis to help participants quit smoking or lose weight, and stress reduction programs that use yoga, meditation, Reiki and Qigong.
Ongoing support groups to help women cope with various medical conditions or life situations are also offered at Emerson.