Is Uterine Fibroid Embolization Worth the Cost?

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Uterine fibroid embolization is a minimally invasive procedure that blocks a fibroid’s blood supply, destroying the tumor without damaging surrounding healthy tissue. Uterine fibroid embolization is a procedure to treat uterine fibroids, or tumors, of the uterine wall. The procedure involves using tiny plastic or metal coils to “seal off” blood vessels that feed these tumors. .The vacuum-assisted laparoscopic suction embolization is a minimally invasive procedure that blocks a fibroid’s blood supply, destroying the tumor without damaging surrounding healthy tissue.

What are the benefits and risks of Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE)?

The advantages of UFE include that it is less invasive than myomectomy, it results in low risk of uterine perforation, and that it is not associated with major bleeding. The risks include the need for anesthesia, a 3-6 month period of menopausal symptoms, and a subsequent need for hysterectomy in 40% of women. Endometrial ablation is a surgical procedure sometimes used as an alternative to myomectomy. It does not require general anesthesia and has a much shorter recovery period than myomectomy. The disadvantages of this procedure include a higher risk of uterine perforation, and it may result in more severe menopausal symptoms.

What are the side effects of Uterine Fibroid Embolization?

Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths, which develop in the muscular wall of the uterus, or womb. The uterus is an organ in the pelvis that supports a child during pregnancy. Fibroids are very common, affecting 10 to 20 percent of women.

The side effects of Uterine Fibroid Embolization are: infections, incomplete embolization, and pelvic bleeding. These are not common side effects of this procedure. .

The most common side effects of uterine fibroids are:

1) Abdominal cramping, bloating, and gas. This may be due to the pressure that the fibroid places on nearby organs. Some women also experience pain in their lower back or pelvis.

2) Mild to medium pain or a sense of fullness in  the lower abdomen

3) Difficulty in urinating; many women experience very frequent urination during the first few days following surgery.

Are there alternatives to Uterine Fibroid Embolization?

Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) is the safest and most effective technique for treating uterine fibroids, and can be performed on an outpatient basis. It is preferable to hysterectomy because hysterectomy involves removal of the uterus, or removal of the uterus and ovaries. .Uterine fibroid embolization is a minimally invasive procedure that involves injecting tiny particles of a substance called radio-opaque dye into the uterine muscle to obstruct blood vessels carrying blood to the fibroids. The dye creates a temporary blockage at the site of the fibroid, so it can no longer grow or bleed.

How much does it cost to have Uterine Fibroid Embolization?

Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) is a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure used to treat symptomatic uterine fibroids. The cost of UFE can vary depending on the specific procedure, the physician’s fee, the facility where the procedure is performed, and your location.

What type of anesthesia is used during Uterine Fibroid Embolization?

A long-acting local anesthetic (lidocaine) is given before surgery to numb the area. A cream is then applied to the skin of the uterine wall. The treatment is usually completed in 20 to 30 minutes and may cause some, or all, of the pain.

Is Uterine Fibroid Embolization right for you?

Uterine fibroid embolization is a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure used to treat “high-grade symptomatic uterine fibroids with associated pelvic symptoms. Uterine fibroids are the most common benign tumors of women of reproductive age, accounting for 20 to 40 percent of all female pelvic masses.  They are classified as “high-grade” when they cause symptoms, such as heavy menstrual bleeding or pain in the abdomen. Implants are inserted into the fibroid and a gas is injected to create an embolism, resulting in a permanent reduction of blood flow to the fibroid.

Many women experience symptomatic relief from their fibroids after embolization. “Embolization” refers to the process of localizing and blocking blood flow to a specific area, usually an organ. This is accomplished by blocking off the blood supply with a substance that does not dissolve. In fibroid embolization, for example, a solution is injected into the uterine artery which then blocks its own blood supply.

Conclusion

UFE generally has a high success rate and a low complication risk, so the benefits outweigh the risks. However, if UFE is not recommended by your doctor, or if you have complications, do not undergo the procedure.

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