Uterine Artery Embolization in Mobile, AL

When very common non-cancerous growths called uterine fibroids develop in the muscle wall of the uterus, they can occur with and without symptoms. The fibroids are usually diagnosed during an internal gynecologic exam and confirmed using either ultrasound or MRI technology.  About one third of the women who have fibroids develop significant symptoms such as heavy menstrual bleeding, bleeding between periods, painful intercourse, pelvic pain, and frequent urination.

The board-certified interventional radiologists at Alabama Coastal Radiology provide relief from such painful symptoms using a minimally inbasive procedure called uterine artery embolization (UAE). Learn more about this fibroid treatment option and what to expect during your procedure when you call to schedule your appointment at any of our 8 locations throughout Mobile, Alabama and its surrounding communities.

What Is Uterine Artery Embolization?

Also commonly referred to as uterine fibroid embolization, uterine artery embolization is a minimally-invasive procedure performed by an interventional radiologist to shrink and destroy uterine fibroid tumors by blocking their blood supply from arteries within the pelvis.

Is Uterine Artery Embolization Right for Me?

Uterine artery embolization, unlike a complete or partial hysterectomy, does not remove any of a woman’s reproductive organs. A preliminary MRI helps in selecting patients who should receive non-surgical uterine artery embolization. Interventional radiologists will interpret these MRI images to determine if a fibroid tumor can be embolized, detect alternate causes for the symptoms, identify conditions that could prevent the success of the procedure, and avoid ineffective treatments. Patients should discuss their options with both their gynecologist and interventional radiologist.

Is Uterine Artery Embolization safe?

While uterine fibroid embolization is safe, like any medical procedure, there are risks that all patients are advised to first discuss with their physician. The procedure has been performed using FDA approved embolic particles on thousands of patients for over 20 years without long-term complications. A small number of patients have experienced infection as a result of UAE, which can oftenbe treated with antibiotics right away. There is also a 1 percent chance of injury to the uterus, potentially leading the individual to require a hysterectomy. Less than 2 percent of patients have entered menopause as a result of the UAE procedure.

How Should I Prepare for This Procedure?

Patients should not eat for at least six hours prior to having uterine artery embolization. To begin the procedure, an intravenous medication is administered for conscious sedation. With the patient lying on a special table that includes a fluoroscopic X-ray machine, the interventional radiologist makes a one-quarter inch incision in the groin to access the femoral artery. A catheter is then inserted into the artery and guided to the uterus. The procedure is monitored with the aid of the fluoroscopic X-ray machine to show the progress of the catheter. When the catheter is properly positioned, the radiologist injects tiny embolic particles into the artery to off the blood supply to the fibroids and leave them to shrink gradually over time.

What Should I Expect During This Exam?

Uterine artery embolization takes about one hour in total to complete. After the procedure, the patient may be required to remain in a hospital setting overnight, though many women are able to return home in the very same day so long as they do not present any concerning side effects. Most patients experience moderate pain and cramping for several hours after having the UAE procedure. On occasion, some women may also experience a low-grade fever and nausea. The majority of patients who undergo this procedure are able to return to normal activity 7 to 10 days afterward, and many resume light activities within just a few days. Between 85 to 90 percent of women report significant or complete relief of heavy bleeding and chronic menstrual pain after uterine artery embolization.

For more information on this topic, please visit www.Radiologyinfo.org.