How Fibroids Embolization Works

Uterine fibroids embolization (UFE) is an option for treating uterine fibroids. Uterine fibroids can cause a variety of symptoms, including heavy menstrual bleeding and periods that last longer than usual.

Here’s what you need to know about UFE so you can start deciding if the program is right for you.

What are uterine fibroids?

Uterine fibroids, also known as fibroids, are noncancerous growths on the wall of the uterus that affect 20 to 40 percent of women over the age of 35. They may not cause any symptoms, but they can cause serious discomfort in some people.

Symptoms of fibroids may include:

  • heavy menstrual bleeding
  • longer than usual
  • Pain or pressure or fullness in the pelvic area, back, or legs
  • pain during sex
  • Constantly feeling the need to urinate
  • Feeling of pressure in the bowel
  • constipate
  • bloating

You may have more than one of these symptoms, and they may be constant or change with your menstrual cycle.

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How UFE works

The UFE procedure stops the blood supply to the fibroids so that the fibroids shrink or disappear completely.

During the procedure, you will be given a sedative to help you relax. The procedure does not cause pain.

Your doctor will start the procedure by making a small incision in your groin area. A very small catheter (tube) is passed through the incision into the arteries of the uterus.

Tiny particles about the size of a grain of sand are injected into the catheter. The particles pass through the catheter into the arteries that supply the fibroids to block blood flow, causing the fibroids to shrink or disappear entirely over time.

The procedure has an 85 percent success rate, and most women can return to normal activities after a week.

side effect

UFE is considered a safe procedure. There are common side effects, and a low risk of adverse events.

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Most women may experience moderate to severe cramping in the first few hours after surgery, and some women may experience nausea and fever. Your healthcare professional can prescribe medication to help with these common side effects.

Some women don’t menstruate after surgery, which can last for months or longer. Research on pregnancy after uterine artery embolization is incomplete.


Infections can occur after surgery. These can cause pelvic discomfort or fever, which can be treated with antibiotics.

Uterine damage occurs in about 1% of surgeries. In these cases, a hysterectomy may be necessary.

Is UFE right for you?

If your fibroids symptoms interfere with your daily activities, consider asking your healthcare professional if UFE may be a treatment option for you.

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