A Complete Guide to Uterine Artery Embolization

Samuel Butt | May 14, 2024 | 0 | Uncategorized

Uterine artery embolization (UAE) represents a significant advancement in non-surgical treatment options for women suffering from symptomatic fibroids. This minimally invasive procedure offers an effective alternative to hysterectomy, aiming to alleviate symptoms while preserving the uterus. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the ins and outs of this embolization, illuminating its benefits, process, and what patients can expect during recovery.

Understanding Uterine Artery Embolization

Uterine artery embolization is a specialised procedure used to treat fibroids by blocking blood flow to the fibroids, leading to their shrinkage and symptom relief. The procedure is performed by an interventional radiologist and is suitable for women who wish to reduce fibroid symptoms without undergoing major surgery.

The Procedure Explained

The UAE process begins with a thorough pre-procedure assessment, including imaging tests like MRI or ultrasound, to map the fibroids’ location and size. During the procedure, the patient is given a local anaesthetic and sedation. A tiny incision is made in the groin or wrist, through which a catheter is guided into the uterine arteries under X-ray guidance. Tiny particles are then injected through the catheter into these arteries to block the blood supply to the fibroids.

The procedure typically takes between 30 minutes to an hour, and patients usually stay in the hospital for one day to monitor recovery and manage any post-procedure discomfort.

Benefits and Efficacy

Uterine artery embolization boasts a high success rate, with most patients experiencing significant relief from fibroid symptoms such as heavy menstrual bleeding, pelvic pain, and pressure symptoms. In addition, UAE is associated with a shorter recovery time compared to surgical options, lesser pain, and a lower risk of complications, making it an appealing choice for many women.

Recovery and Aftercare

Recovery from UAE involves managing post-procedure pain, which is usually mild to moderate and can be controlled with prescribed medications. Most women can return to normal activities within a week, although a full recovery may take up to two weeks. Follow-up imaging tests are necessary to assess the reduction of fibroid size and the overall success of the procedure.

While viable for many, it’s important to note that alternatives such as fibroid embolization specifically target the fibroids with a similar embolic technique, reaffirming the utility and versatility of embolization procedures in gynaecological treatments.

Conclusion

Uterine artery embolization presents a highly effective, less invasive treatment option for women struggling with fibroids, offering symptom relief and a quicker return to daily life. As with any medical procedure, consulting with a healthcare provider to thoroughly understand the benefits, risks, and suitability for your specific condition is crucial.

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