Uterine Fibroid Embolization

Effective treatment for uterine fibroids

Uterine Fibroid Embolization at Beverly Hospital

A uterine fibroid embolization is a procedure that shrinks fibroids (noncancerous muscle tissue growths) in the uterus by cutting off their blood supply. Studies have shown that 73 to 90% of women who receive this procedure show improvement in their fibroid-related symptoms.

Compared to surgical fibroid removal, uterine fibroid embolization is much less invasive. Benefits of the procedure include:

  • No need for general anesthesia
  • Minimal blood loss
  • Less pain during recovery
  • Faster recovery times
  • No need for large incisions (cuts)

Learn More About Uterine Fibroid Embolization

Get more details on what to expect and how to prepare for this procedure.

How Uterine Fibroid Embolization Works

During this procedure, you will receive sedation through an IV. A member of your care team will inject local anesthesia into your groin. They will then insert a catheter (a thin, flexible tube) into your femoral artery. Next, they’ll inject contrast dye through the catheter. The contrast will help your doctor guide the catheter into one of your two uterine arteries.

Next, your doctor will inject particles through the catheter using precise X-ray guidance. The particles block the small blood vessels supplying the fibroids. Once one side is complete, your doctor will do the same procedure to the uterine artery on the opposite side — usually without a second incision. Before your procedure is finished, a member of your care team will take a final set of X-ray images.

Preparing for Uterine Fibroid Embolization

Before the procedure, your doctor will order a pelvic magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and/or ultrasound to:

  • Locate the fibroids.
  • Assess the size of the fibroids.
  • Help determine if fibroids are causing your symptoms.

Your doctor will also order blood tests prior to the procedure. You may need to temporarily stop taking certain medications, such as blood thinners. You will also need to avoid eating or drinking anything after midnight before the procedure. A member of the radiology team will let you know which of your regular medications you should take the morning of your embolization.

What to Expect During Uterine Fibroid Embolization

The entire procedure will take about one-and-a-half to two hours. Prior to the procedure, a member of your care team will place an IV line in your arm and a Foley catheter in your bladder. They’ll monitor your heart rate, blood pressure, electrocardiogram (EKG), breathing and blood oxygen levels throughout the procedure.

After your uterine fibroid embolization, a member of your care team will clean and bandage the incision site. Most people will need to stay in the hospital for one night to recover. For up to 10 hours after the procedure, you may experience:

  • Fever
  • Moderate to severe pain
  • Nausea

You will receive IV medications for pain and nausea while you’re in the hospital. Most people can expect to return home the day after their procedure.

You may experience moderate to severe menstrual-type cramping and spotting for several days after your procedure. Your doctor may prescribe oral pain medications to control these symptoms. You should feel better after several days and can plan to go back to work one to two weeks after your procedure.

Services & Specialties

When necessary, your gynecologist will work with other subspecialty providers at Beverly Hospital to ensure you have the care you need to feel your very best.