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Treatment of Uterine Fibroids

Uterine fibroids are extremely common benign (noncancerous) tumors that grow in the uterus. According to a study in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology1, 80 to 90 percent of African American women and 70 percent of white women will develop uterine fibroids by age 50. While uterine fibroids are not cancer, they can cause problems for some women. It may be time to consider treatment if you have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Unpredictable periods.
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding.
  • Frequent urge to urinate.
  • Pelvic pain and/or cramping with periods.
  • Sexual issues.

Nonsurgical Treatment for Uterine Fibroids

Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE)

The UFE procedure is a minimally invasive procedure performed by a Vascular Interventional Radiologist (VIR). Using x-ray guidance, the IR threads a catheter through a tiny incision in your wrist or groin. Once the catheter is in place, the IR sends tiny particles through it to block the small blood vessels that feed blood to the fibroids. Without a blood supply, the uterine fibroids shrink. They may disappear completely, or they may shrink to the point where you no longer experience symptoms.

UFE has some advantages over other treatment options:

  • Nonsurgical treatment with lower risk of complications.
  • Minimally invasive procedure.
  • Preserves the uterus and may preserve fertility.
  • Shorter recovery time than traditional surgery.
  • Unlikely to cause early menopause.
  • Fast symptom relief.
  • Minimal blood loss through small incision.

The UFE procedure usually takes from one to three hours. After the procedure, a nurse will bandage your incision and you will be on bed rest for up to 3 hours. You may stay overnight in the hospital for observation. Following UFE, you may experience moderate pelvic cramping and nausea, which can be controlled with medication.

You should be able to return to your usual activities in seven to 10 days. As the fibroids break down, you may have occasional vaginal bleeding that may last a couple of weeks, but in some cases, it can last for several months.

To find out more visit: The fibroid fix: What women need to know.


Having a procedure and want to learn more before coming in?

Visit our Virtual Interventional Labs Tour.

To learn more about vascular interventional radiology, including detailed information and videos about procedures and treatments, visit The Society of Interventional Radiology


ChristianaCare Vascular Interventional Radiology
Center for Heart & Vascular Health
4755 Ogletown-Stanton Road, Suite 1E20, Newark, DE 19713 directions