Uterine fibroids often cause severe pain and heavy bleeding, yet women have few treatment options. As a result, more than one-third of hysterectomies in the United States are done to treat uterine fibroids. But Kenneth Spearman, MD, at Central Coast Vein & Vascular offers another option that eliminates the fibroids while preserving your uterus: uterine fibroid embolization. To learn if you’re a good candidate for this minimally invasive and effective procedure, call the office in Arroyo Grande, California, or schedule an appointment online.
Uterine fibroid embolization is a minimally invasive procedure to treat fibroids (leiomyomas) that develop in the uterus. The procedure works by cutting off the blood supply to the fibroids.
Without blood, the fibroids partially or completely shrink and die. As a result, 90% of women experience significant or complete symptom resolution.
Uterine fibroids are benign, smooth-muscle tumors that develop in or on your uterus. The growths typically develop in the muscular wall, but they may also grow inside the uterine cavity or outside the uterus.
Fibroids can appear in more than one location at the same time. They also vary in size. You may have fibroids so small they go unnoticed, or they can grow so large they cause severe symptoms.
As uterine fibroids enlarge, you experience symptoms such as:
In severe cases, uterine fibroids can cause infertility or a miscarriage.
During uterine fibroid embolization, Dr. Spearman makes a tiny incision in your groin and inserts a narrow catheter. Using real-time X-ray imaging called fluoroscopy to guide the catheter, he threads it into the specific arteries supplying blood to the fibroid.
After the catheter is in position, Dr. Spearman releases small particles called embolic agents, which block the vessels and stop blood from reaching the fibroid. If you have more than one fibroid, he repeats the same procedure for the blood vessels serving all of your uterine fibroids.
Most women experience some pain after their procedure. You may also develop post-embolization syndrome, which includes pelvic pain, cramping, a low-grade fever, fatigue, nausea, and vomiting. These symptoms should improve in 2-7 days.
You’ll also be monitored for infection. Otherwise, recovery is typically fast. You should be back to your normal activities in a week, and you’ll continue to experience significant improvement in your uterine fibroid symptoms over the next few months.
If you have uterine fibroids and would like to learn more about uterine fibroid embolization, call Central Coast Vein & Vascular or book an appointment online.