Uterine Fibroid Embolization


Patients who suffer from chronic pelvic pain, heavy menstrual bleeding, abnormal uterine bleeding and pelvic pressure or heaviness may have uterine fibroids, also called myoma, leiomyoma, leiomyomata and fibromyoma.

Below is a minimally invasive fibroid tumor treatment option called uterine fibroid embolization available right here in Knoxville, Tennessee. Speak with your doctor to see if it is right for you.

About Uterine Fibroid Embolization

Uterine fibroid embolizations is a minimally invasive procedure, which means it requires only a tiny nick in the skin. It is performed while the patient is conscious but sedated – drowsy and feeling no pain – in order to treat uterine fibroids.

Uterine fibroid embolization is performed by an interventional radiologist, a physician who is specially trained to perform this and other types of embolization and minimally invasive procedures. The interventional radiologist makes a small nick in the skin (less than 1/4 inch) in the groin and inserts a catheter into an artery. The catheter is guided through the artery to the uterus while the interventional radiologist guides the progress of the procedure using a moving X-ray (fluoroscopy). The interventional radiologist injects tiny plastic particles the size of grains of sand into the artery that is supplying blood to the fibroid tumor. This cuts off the blood flow and causes the tumor (or tumors) to shrink. The artery on the other side of the uterus is then treated.

Uterine fibroid embolization usually requires a hospital stay of 1 night. Pain-killing medications and drugs that control swelling typically are prescribed following the procedure to treat cramping and pain. Fever sometimes occurs after embolization and usually is treated with acetaminophen. Many women resume light activities in a few days and the majority of women are able to return to normal activities within 1 week.

While embolization to treat uterine fbroids has been performed since 1995, embolization of the uterus is not new. It has been used successfully by interventional radiologists for more than 20 years to treat heavy bleeding after childbirth. The procedure now is available at hospitals and medical centers across the country including at UT Medical Center in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Studies show that up to 90% of women who have the procedure experience significant or total relief of heavy bleeding, pain and other symptoms. The procedure also is effective for multiple fibroids. Recurrence of treated fibroids is very rare. In one study in which patients were followed for 6 years, no fibroid that had been embolized re-grew.

Is Uterine Fibroid Embolization Right for You?

Uterine fibroid embolization is recognized as a safe and effective option in the treatment of uterine fibroids. This procedure is appropriate for patients who would like to keep their uterus.

If you are interested in exploring treatment for uterine fibroids, talk with your health care provider. Our physicians are experienced in performing uterine fibroid embolizations and will help you determine if this minimally invasive procedure is the best choice based off your treatment goals.