Doctors often recommend fibroid surgery to treat uterine fibroids. Common surgeries for fibroids include hysterectomies and myomectomies, but it’s important to understand your options in order to make the most informed decision.

Many women don’t know that there are non-surgical options for fibroid treatment, such as Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE). UFE is a minimally invasive alternative to surgical fibroid surgery, making it an attractive and beneficial option for many women who have been diagnosed with uterine fibroids. Instead of removing the uterus or cutting any uterine tissues, UFE treats fibroids by blocking the blood supply fibroids need to grow and thrive. Recovery time is much shorter with this non-surgical procedure—usually only a week or two. UFE also preserves fertility by leaving the uterus intact while relieving the symptoms of fibroids. 

When Do Fibroids Need to Be Treated?

Uterine fibroids usually need to be treated when they interfere with your quality of life. In addition to heavy bleeding, pain, and anemia, fibroids can cause other problems, including difficulty conceiving, complications during pregnancy, and urinary tract or bowel issues.

Treatment benefits and risks vary depending on your reasons for seeking treatment. However, a non-surgical method such as UFE is likely to have the fewest side effects and the least risk of complications. UFE is recognized as a safe and effective fibroid treatment by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) and should be considered for any individual who is symptomatic and wishes to avoid surgery.

What Are the Risks of Invasive or Minimally Invasive Surgery?

The terms “invasive” and “minimally invasive” can be confusing. Invasive surgery requires large incisions, while minimally invasive surgery uses small incisions to reduce the disruption of soft tissue and bone. 

Surgery for fibroid removal can have many risks, including blood loss and infection. Two surgeries are commonly used to treat fibroids: hysterectomy and myomectomy. While both surgeries can be performed with minimally invasive techniques, they can still cause scar tissue that can result in pelvic pain and infertility.

Hysterectomy removes the uterus entirely, making pregnancy impossible. In addition, this procedure can lead to an increased risk of pelvic floor disorder, a condition in which the bladder and other organs drop because the uterus isn’t there to hold them in place.

While myomectomy is a less invasive surgery than hysterectomy, this uterine fibroid removal surgery isn’t optimal for removing large or multiple fibroids. Possible complications include an increased risk of excessive blood loss and developing blood clots.

Why Is Non-Invasive Fibroid Surgery (UFE) Considered a Better Alternative? 

If you’re experiencing heavy, painful periods or chronic pain from your fibroids, it’s time to find a treatment option. If you do not want to undergo uterine fibroid removal surgery, consider a non-surgical alternative to treat your fibroids. 

Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) targets all fibroids in the uterus without surgery. UFE is an outpatient treatment with a much shorter recovery time than uterine fibroid removal surgery, and it leaves the uterus intact to preserve fertility. Whether you’ve just been diagnosed or have suffered from fibroids for years, the UFE experts at USA Fibroid Centers can help.

How Quickly Do Fibroids Shrink After UFE?

UFE works by preventing blood flow to the fibroid, which causes it to shrink and die. Most women experience a notable decrease in symptoms within a few weeks as the fibroids continue to shrink.

USA Fibroid Centers’ Medical Director, Dr. Jacob White, says, “Some patients report feeling better already at their two-week post-op visit. But most shrinking and symptom relief is 3–6 months after UFE. Sometimes big fibroids can continue to shrink for 9–12 months.”

Is UFE Painful?

If you’re looking for a painless, non-surgical fibroid treatment, Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) may be the answer. Before the procedure, an interventional radiologist will give you a light sedative and numb your thigh or wrist. Using fluoroscopy (X-ray) images, a catheter is gently guided into the blood vessels that supply blood to the uterus. (UFE doesn’t cause pain because there are no nerve endings in your blood vessels.) Microscopic particles are then inserted to block blood flow to the fibroids. Once the fibroids stop receiving blood, they gradually shrink over the next weeks and months.

This non-invasive uterine fibroid removal surgery (UFE) offers many benefits over a hysterectomy or myomectomy. In addition to preserving the uterus while still shrinking your fibroids, it offers minimal recovery time and very low risk, especially compared to fibroid surgery. Most women resume their normal activities in a few days and experience a full recovery in one to two weeks. There are no stitches or scarring—only a small bandage over the incision on your thigh or wrist.

Recovery Process

After completing the procedure, our team will monitor you for a brief time (usually only a few hours) as you begin your recovery. Due to the mild sedation, someone will need to drive you home that day. Since you will likely experience cramping, you’ll want to take it easy and rest.

There are no restrictions after the procedure. It typically takes 7 to 10 days to recover fully from embolization and resume your daily activities. It’s best to rest during the first week to allow adequate recovery time. You won’t be able to take a bath for two weeks, but you can continue to shower. You’ll also be restricted from heavy exercise or lifting until you fully recover. You shouldn’t take any aspirin for the first week to avoid its blood-thinning qualities.

Approximately 85 to 90 percent of patients who undergo UFE have dramatic improvements in their symptoms without fibroids returning. Many of our patients report healthy pregnancies after treatment. 

Contact USA Fibroid Centers Today

You don’t need to go through your life simply dealing with your uterine fibroids or resort to traditional uterine fibroid removal surgery. There’s hope for a brighter tomorrow with UFE. Contact USA Fibroid Centers today to learn more about UFE and how it can help you. We’ll gladly help you get back to your everyday life.

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Life with fibroids can be painful and challenging. Timely detection and treatment of fibroids can relieve symptoms, as well as reduce your risk for hysterectomy.

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