By the age of 50, up to 70% of women in Australia could be affected by uterine fibroids, however, it’s likely that many are unaware of the minimally invasive uterine fibroid embolization treatment (UFE) available, and instead undergo invasive and potentially unnecessary surgery.
A recent US poll released in August 2017 by the Society of Interventional Radiology found that only 44% of US women diagnosed with uterine fibroids have ever heard of UFE. The poll also indicated wide misconceptions about Uterine Fibroids including development risks and treatment options.
What are Uterine Fibroids
Uterine Fibroids (also known as leiomyoma) are very common, benign (non-cancerous) growths that develop in the muscle wall of a woman’s uterus. These fibroids are common in fertile women, and usually shrink after menopause.
Fibroids often produce no obvious symptoms (asymptomatic), with patients unaware of their presence until found incidentally on examination or via medical imaging.
However, fibroids can cause symptoms depending on their size and location. Symptoms may include pelvic pain, heavy bleeding, increased period pain, and increased frequency of urination. Fibroids can also be associated with infertility.
Whilst invasive surgeries and procedures like hysterectomies and ablations are necessary for many conditions, they may not be needed to treat uterine fibroids. Sometimes, however, they are presented as the one or best option to treat these non-cancerous growths.
A minimally invasive alternative is Uterine Fibroid Embolisation (UFE).
What is Uterine Fibroid Embolisation (UFE)
UFE is performed by an interventional radiologist who inserts a thin catheter into an artery at the groin or wrist, guiding it to the fibroid's blood supply and releasing small particles to block the blood vessels feeding the fibroid.
The aim of the procedure is to stop blood flowing into the vessels which supply the fibroids, whilst preserving blood flow to the surrounding area.
Benefits of UFE
UFE is much less invasive than open or laparoscopic surgery, no surgical incision is required (i.e. no stitches), and the procedure does not require a general anaesthetic.
Unlike a hysterectomy, the uterus is not removed.
Generally you will be required to stay in hospital overnight. Many women are able to resume light activities in a few days and the majority of women are able to return to normal activities within 7 to 10 days.
High Success Rate
On average, 85-90 percent of women who have had the procedure experience significant or total relief of heavy bleeding and/or bulk-related symptoms.
Queensland UFE Procedures
Uniting Care Medical Imaging,Queensland’s leading diagnostic imaging provider, offers UFE through its Interventional Radiology Service.
Contact the friendly team on 07 3371 9588 or online via our enquiry form. You can also book a consultation with one of UCMI’s sub speciality interventional radiologists to discuss the procedure further.
Read more about UCMI's intervnetional radiology Uterine Fibroid Embolisation service.
Read our detailed prodecure UFE Fact Sheet before you have the UFE procedure.