Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) is a medical procedure developed in France in the early 90s by gynaecology and radiology teams at the Lariboisière Hospital (Paris).

The principle of embolization is to starve the fibroids of blood through the injection of synthetic microspheres into the arteries of the uterus.

How is a UFE carried out?

Before surgery
Once embolization has been chosen, a team is formed, comprising the vascular interventional radiologist, the gynaecologist and the anaesthetist.
The gynaecologist establishes the medical records based on the information obtained during the imaging examinations (ultrasound, MRI). The vascular interventional radiologist ensures the absence of any contraindications and plans the embolization. The anaesthetist defines the associated medication (pain, etc.).
An appointment with the interventional radiologist is organized to explain how the embolization is carried out and answer any questions that the patient may have

The embolization procedure
The surgery is performed under local anaesthesia by the vascular interventional radiologist. The entire procedure is performed under visual control radiology.
The interventional radiologist begins by making a small opening in the groin to puncture the femoral artery and place a catheter.
When the catheter (tube of about 1 millimetre in diameter) is in place, the radiologist injects microspheres of 500 to 1000 microns in diameter into the femoral artery.
As the fibroids receive blood from the arteries, they receive also the microspheres, which block their channels and prevent the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the tumour.
Once the embolization is complete, the catheter is removed carefully. Using his finger, the interventional radiologist presses on the wound for a few minutes to stop the bleeding. He closes it with a tool specifically designed for this purp

After surgery
Embolization of uterine fibroids requires only a short hospital stay of 24 to 48 hours and normal activity can be resumed after 10 days.
Immediately after surgery, most patients are prone to stomach cramps similar to those experienced during menstruation. The doctor can provide a prescription to limit the pain.
During recovery, a slight fever and tiredness may appear; the symptoms similar to those of influenza and may last from a few hours to days.
Subsequently, several follow-up appointments are made with the interventional radiologist. They are usually made one week and three months after the embolization

Embolization: in what case?

Embolization is a method that has been refined over the last decade. It has been validated by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists as a non-surgical alternative to hysterectomy for women wishing to retain their uterus (Practice Bulletin No. 96 - July 2008).

This technique also benefits from a recommendation consensus for women with more than three or four fibroids (polymyomatous uterus) because it avoids an extensive polymyomectomy.

Embolization is also a good alternative for patients having had a previous myomectomy and who suffer from recurring symptoms related to fibroids.

Several scientific studies have shown also that women who underwent embolization could still get pregnant and give birth to children under quite normal conditions (source Biosphere Med).

More and more women opt for embolization because it is a minimally invasive, fast, efficient and sustainable


Others non-surgical treatments:

- Drug treatment
- Ultrasound


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