Uterine artery embolization

Uterine artery embolization is a minimally invasive treatment for uterine fibroids, noncancerous growths in the uterus. In uterine artery embolization — also called uterine fibroid embolization — a doctor uses a slender, flexible tube (catheter) to inject small particles (embolic agents) into the uterine arteries, which supply blood to your fibroids and uterus.

Uterine fibroids stimulate formation of new blood vessels to the fibroid. During uterine artery embolization, the embolic agents are injected into these fibroid blood vessels. The goal is to block the fibroid vessels, starving the fibroids and causing them to shrink and die.

Why it's done Risks How you prepare What you can expect Results

Uterine fibroids can cause severe symptoms in some women, including heavy menstrual bleeding, pelvic pain and swelling of the abdomen. Uterine artery embolization destroys fibroid tissue and eases these symptoms. And it provides an alternative to surgery to remove fibroids (myomectomy).

You might choose uterine artery embolization if you are premenopausal and:

  • You have severe pain or heavy bleeding from uterine fibroids
  • You want to avoid surgery, or surgery is too risky for you
  • You want to keep your uterus
  • Optimizing a future pregnancy is not your chief concern

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