Lay Summary: Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) is a minimally invasive treatment for fibroid tumors in the uterus. It is appropraite in properly selected patients.
Fibroid tumors, also known as myomas, are masses of fiber and muscle tissue in the wall of the uterus. Although these tumors are not cancerous, they may cause heavy menstrual bleeding, pain in the pelvic region and pressure on the bladder or bowel.
In a uterine fibroid embolization procedure, physicians use image guidance to place a synthetic material called an embolic agent inside one or more of the blood vessels that supply the fibroid tumors with blood. As a result, these vessels become occluded, or closed off, and the fibroid tissue shrinks. In most cases, symptoms are relievedAt this time, the Task Force recommends that uterine artery embolization (UAE) be offered to only patients with symptomatic uterine leiomyomata. Because the symptoms associated with leiomyomata can also be caused by other processes, it is critical that patients undergo preprocedural evaluation that is adequate to confirm that their symptoms are in fact caused by leiomyomata or significantly contributed to by leiomyomata. It is equally critical that unrelated but potentially more important processes (such as ovarian malignancy) be excluded.
Andrews RT, Spies JB, Sacks D, Worthington-Kirsch RL, Niedzwiecki GA, Marx MV, Hovsepian DM, Miller DL, Siskin GP, Raabe RD, Goodwin SC, Min RJ, Bonn J, Cardella JF, Patel NH. Patient care and uterine artery embolization for leiomyomata. J Vasc Interv Radiol 2004 Feb;15(2 Pt 1):115-20. PubMed