Ablation vs. Uterine Fibroid Embolization
If you have fibroid symptoms like heavy periods and severe cramps, we want you to know that non-surgical help is available. As you begin to explore different fibroid treatments, you may come across a technique called uterine fibroid ablation. This technique is also sometimes known as radiofrequency fibroid ablation. Instead of removing fibroids surgically, fibroid ablation uses heat to destroy your fibroids.
Another type of ablation, endometrial ablation, is sometimes used to treat heavy menstrual bleeding. Although uterine fibroids are occasionally destroyed during the procedure, this method is not intended as a fibroid treatment.
Uterine fibroid ablation can be confused with Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE), a minimally-invasive treatment option performed at USA Fibroid Centers. However, these are two different procedures. Here’s what you should know about fibroid embolization vs. ablation.
When to Undergo a Fibroid Ablation
First of all, we want you to understand that a fibroid diagnosis doesn’t necessarily mean you need treatment. Some women don’t experience any symptoms or issues from fibroids at all. The best way to determine if that is the case is to consult a fibroid specialist.
However, others experience painful, uncomfortable, and inconvenient symptoms that interfere with their career, social life, intimate relationships, or self-esteem. Fibroid growth can also cause damage to surrounding organs and affect fertility.
Fibroid treatments like ablation and UFE are typically recommended when your fibroids impact your daily life. Consulting with a fibroid specialist can help determine which method is best for your situation.
When Not to Do Ablation for Fibroids
The size, type, and number of fibroids involved can affect which treatment is appropriate. In general, fibroid ablation works on small fibroids. Your fibroid specialist can help determine what treatment is right for you.
Ablation vs. Uterine Fibroid Embolization
If you are researching minimally-invasive treatment, you probably have questions about Uterine Fibroid Embolization vs. ablation. These two procedures both offer benefits over fibroid surgery.
Both fibroid ablation and UFE:
- Leave your uterus intact
- Are minimally-invasive fibroid treatments
- Involve short recovery times
- Shrink fibroids
- Are performed as outpatient procedures
- Can relieve fibroid pain and discomfort
Uterine Fibroid Embolization offers several advantages over fibroid ablation, including:
- Uses only local anesthesia and light sedation
- Proven over time to be almost 90 percent effective at reducing or eliminating fibroid symptoms
- Performed at dozens of USA Fibroid Centers nationwide
Fibroid Ablation Recovery
After fibroid ablation, many women feel ready to return to work and regular activities in only four or five days. Most women fully recover within ten days. However, your recovery time may vary based on the size and location of your fibroids.
Your timeline for symptom relief can vary, too. If your fibroid symptoms are severe, full relief may take up to 12 months. However, most women experience at least some symptomatic relief within the first three months.
Uterine Fibroid Embolization Recovery
Similar to uterine fibroid ablation, recovery after UFE looks different for every woman. Most are back to normal activities within one to two weeks. However, your recovery experience may depend, in part, on the initial size and location of your fibroid(s).
Some women report improvement of their symptoms within days; others within weeks or sometimes months.
Fibroid Ablation Procedure
Uterine fibroid ablation is a minimally-invasive procedure that treats symptomatic uterine fibroids. It is performed under general anesthesia and uses radiofrequency energy (heat) to shrink targeted fibroids and relieve their symptoms.
During fibroid ablation treatment:
- Your doctor will map your fibroids and guide treatment using ultrasound imaging
- They will make two small abdominal incisions
- Through these, the tip of an ablation device is placed by your fibroid
- Next, small needles deploy into the fibroid
- Radiofrequency energy (heat) is applied to destroy the fibroid tissue
- This process is repeated until all fibroids are treated
- Afterward, your incisions are stitched
- In the following weeks and months, your fibroid(s) will shrink, and symptoms should resolve
Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) is another type of minimally-invasive fibroid treatment. It is performed under light sedation and local anesthesia. The goal of UFE is to shrink your fibroids and provide symptomatic relief.
During the UFE procedure:
- Your doctor makes a small incision in your numbed upper thigh
- A tiny catheter is inserted into the uterine artery using ultrasound guidance
- Embolic materials are injected through the catheter to block blood flow and nutrients to the fibroid
- Over time, your fibroid begins to shrink and wither away
- The involved incision requires no stitches, just a small bandage
- You can go home the same day to start your recovery
Contact USA Fibroid Centers Today!
At USA Fibroid Centers, our specialists can help you navigate your treatment options and decide which one is best for your situation. To take the first step toward a life free of fibroid pain and discomfort, schedule an appointment online today.
If you ultimately decide on Uterine Fibroid Embolization, we can make treatment easy and convenient. We offer dozens of locations nationwide, along with telemedicine options. We also want you to know that most major insurance plans cover Uterine Fibroid Embolization.