Providence Health & Services
Imaging Center (PIC)
Alternatives to Uterine Fibroid Embolization
The three most common treatments for fibroids:
Prescription Drug Therapy
These drugs are used to mimic menopause by artificially reducing hormone levels. While this treatment is successful in reducing symptoms, the effect is temporary, lasting only as long as the drugs are taken. Drug therapy may also cause side effects similar to menopause (hot flashes, bone loss, etc.).
(selective surgical removal of fibroids)
This treatment preserves the uterus, but the surgery can be more complex than a hysterectomy, with a risk of significant blood loss during surgery. General anesthesia is usually required and a multiple-day hospital stay following the procedure is often necessary. Fibroids also re-occur in up to 15% of patients.
(removal of the entire uterus)
Hysterectomy has proven itself to be completely effective in the treatment of fibroids, which is why it is the most commonly used approach. However, a hysterectomy can have a major physical and psychological impact on some women, and the recovery time can take several weeks (8-12 on average).
Since UFE is a non-surgical procedure, it provides patients with many advantages:
• Recovery is much faster (usually 3-7 days) and the patient usually has less pain and fewer complications than those associated with traditional surgical treatments.
• The procedure does not require general anesthesia and can be done in an outpatient setting, reducing the length of stay in the hospital.
• Results of the procedure to date have been excellent, with an 88-92% success rate in alleviation of symptoms.
• The risk of post-operative bleeding and scarring inside the body is much less than with other surgical treatments.
• There is no abdominal incision or scar with this minimally invasive procedure.
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Uterine Fibroid Embolization
The UFE procedure
After a UFE procedure
Side effects & risks
Alternatives to UFE
How to get started
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