When is Uterine Fibroid Embolization Used?
As mentioned above, uterine fibroid treatment is rather straightforward and minimally invasive. As a result, the procedure can be used in a wide variety of cases. Some of the instances where the treatment is necessary or advocated for include;
- Malignant gynecological tumors
- Hemorrhage after childbirth
- General or specific trauma
Uterine Artery Embolization (UFE) vs. Hysterectomy
Benefits of UFE Over Hysterectomy
UFE is a minimally invasive procedure that is effective for treating uterine fibroids and is considered an alternative to uterine fibroid surgery removal. UFE is typically performed as an outpatient procedure, which means that most women go home the same day for recovery.
UFE has several benefits over hysterectomy. Besides involving only a small nick in the groin or wrist for catheter insertion, the uterus is preserved. There is no scar with UFE. For a UFE, conscious sedation is used, unlike for a hysterectomy, where the woman receives general anesthesia. The recovery time for UFE is generally within 2 weeks, which is significantly faster than the usual 6-week recovery time after hysterectomy.
Women who have a hysterectomy that removed both the uterus and ovaries usually just get estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) alone. But women who have only the ovaries removed need both estrogen and progestin because estrogen alone can increase the risk of cancer in the uterus.
The recovery time for UFE is generally within 2 weeks, which is significantly faster than the usual 6-week recovery time after hysterectomy.
The idea of having your entire uterus removed is psychologically daunting for women as some women may still want the option to carry a child, do not want to undergo a general surgery and/or feel like removing the uterus takes away part of their identity as a female.