What is Uterine Artery Embolisation?

Uterine artery embolisation or UAE is one of the treatment options that can help with fibroids. It is a non-surgical procedure that can reduce the size of the fibroids by cutting off their blood supply.

Who Should Have UAE?

 

UAE may be a suitable treatment for you if:

  • You have large fibroids that are causing severe symptoms.
  • Medication hasn’t helped to relieve your symptoms or shrink the fibroids.
  • You want to preserve your fertility so you don’t want a hysterectomy (although there is a risk that UAE could affect your ability to conceive).

What Happens During UAE?

 

UAE is a non-surgical procedure that will usually be performed by a radiologist as it involves the use of X-rays. The UAE procedure can reduce the size of your fibroids so that they don’t need to be removed surgically. It may therefore be able to help you avoid a hysterectomy, although there may be other surgical options to consider.

  • A needle will be inserted into the large artery near your groin. A guide wire and catheter will be fed through the needle, which will then be removed.
  • The radiologist will use X-rays to monitor the guide wire and catheter as they are moved along the artery towards your uterus.
  • A dye will be injected into the uterine arteries, which can feel a little warm. The dye shows up on the X-rays as it flows through the blood vessels, enabling the radiologist to identify the small arteries that are supplying the fibroids with blood.
  • Once the blood vessels have been identified, a special fluid will be injected into them through the catheter. The fluid contains lots of tiny particles that will settle in the arteries to block the blood flow.
  • The catheter will then be withdrawn and pressure placed on the groin to prevent bleeding.

Recovering from UAE

 

You will need to take it easy for a couple of weeks after the procedure and you may experience some pain, bruising, vaginal discharge, or a mild fever. There is also a small risk of infection, which may require additional treatment. As the treatment takes effect and the fibroid shrink, you should start to see an improvement in your symptoms.

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