How Does UFE Work?
Fibroid tumors, sometimes referred to as myomas, are benign tumors that develop in the walls of the uterus. While it is very rare for these tumors to turn cancerous, they can cause extremely unpleasant symptoms, such as heavy menstrual bleeding, painful cramping, chronic pain in the pelvic region, and pressure on the bladder or bowels.
In the past, these symptoms (and the fibroid growths that caused them) were often treated with hysterectomy (surgical removal of the uterus). Although common, hysterectomy is a radical procedure in that it renders the patient unable to have children, incurs the risks normally associated with invasive surgery and full general anesthesia, and often results in other adverse long-term effects.
Interventional Radiology (IR) procedures offer a better treatment approach
The minimally-invasive procedure used by some of the best interventional radiology doctors in Dallas at MTV IR allows them to shrink or destroy uterine fibroid tumors without the need for invasive surgery. With this procedure (called Uterine Fibroid Embolization or UFE), a thin, flexible tube called a catheter is introduced into the femoral artery in the upper thigh and guided using visualization techniques into position near the uterus. Then a contrast material is injected, which allows the doctors to watch its progress as it travels to the uterus using real-time X-ray fluoroscopy. This allows the doctors to not only pinpoint the location of the fibroid tumors, but also the arteries that supply blood to them.
In the final stage of the procedure, the catheter is guided precisely into place and a solution of embolizing polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) particles is injected into those arteries that supply the tumors. The particles build up in the targeted arteries and effectively block blood flow to the fibroid tumors, causing them to shrink and die.
The procedure itself is performed in a hospital by MTV IR specialists and usually requires an overnight stay. Recovery from the procedures can involve some moderate pain, and requires that you remain motionless during the 24-hour recovery period to allow the small puncture in your artery to close properly. Most patients (85-90%) report significant reductions of their reported symptoms within a very short time, often as quickly as the next menstrual cycle.
When determines whether you are a candidate for UFE?
There are many factors that determine which uterine fibroid treatment options in Dallas are right for you, the most important being whether you plan on becoming pregnant in the future. The full effects of UFE are not fully understood, and while it is theoretically possible to become pregnant after UFE, the odds of this happening are uncertain. There are few risks associated with the procedure itself, because being minimally invasive it avoids the need for general anesthesia and blood transfusions. The procedure offers many advantages over other procedures used to treat fibroids, such as hysterectomy, myomectomy, or treatment with GnRH-a (a hormone suppressant used to shrink fibroids that can cause bone thinning).
If you are currently dealing with symptoms that sound as if they could be caused by uterine fibroids, look into the information we’ve provided about our Women’s Health services and pelvic pain treatment options in Dallas on our website at http://www.mtvir.com/ or give us a call at 469-447-4008. We’ll be happy to schedule an appointment and answer any questions you might have.