The procedure involves inserting a catheter through the groin, maneuvering it through the uterine artery, and injecting the embolic agent into the arteries that supply blood to the uterus and fibroids. As the fibroids die and begin to shrink, the uterus fully recovers.
How is the procedure performed?
Uterine Fibroid Embolization is an image-guided, minimally invasive procedure that uses a high-definition x-ray camera to guide a trained specialist, most commonly an interventional radiologist to introduce a catheter into the uterine arteries to deliver the particles. The procedure is typically performed in a cath lab or occasionally in the operating room.
- You will be positioned on the examining table.
- You will be connected to monitors that track your heart rate, blood pressure and pulse during the procedure.
- A nurse or technologist will insert an intravenous (IV) line into a vein in your hand or arm so that sedative medication can be given intravenously. You may also receive general anesthesia.
- The area of your body where the catheter is to be inserted will be shaved, sterilized and covered with a surgical drape.
- Your physician will numb the area with a local anesthetic.
- A very small nick is made in the skin at the site.
- Using x-ray guidance, a catheter is inserted into your femoral artery, which is located in the groin area. A contrast material provides a roadmap for the catheter as it is maneuvered into your uterine arteries. The embolic agent is released into both the right and left uterine arteries by repositioning the same catheter that was originally inserted. Only one small skin puncture is required for the entire procedure.
- At the end of the procedure, the catheter will be removed and pressure will be applied to stop any bleeding. The opening in the skin is then covered with a dressing. No sutures are needed.
- Your intravenous line will be removed.
- You will most likely remain in the hospital overnight so that you may receive pain medications and be observed.
- This procedure is usually completed within 90 minutes.