Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) is performed to treat symptomatic fibroids (abnormal benign growths) in your uterus. A fibroid tumor can cause heavy or prolonged menstrual periods and/or pelvic pressure, pain and other bulk-related symptoms. Embolization is successful in improving or resolving symptoms in 78 to 94 percent of all patients undergoing this procedure. Our team of specialized physicians, nurses and technologists is led by Marc L. Friedman, MD, chief of Interventional and Vascular Radiology.
Before Arriving for Your Exam
- If you would like a consultation about this procedure, you can contact us at 310-423-8694 and press option 4.
- You will come to the Interventional Radiology Clinic at the Medical Office Towers for a consultation with one of our specialist physicians. Our doctor will review your history, explain the procedure including risks and expectations, and together you will decide if UFE is right for you.
- If you schedule this procedure, you will be contacted by a member of our team the day before your exam (between 4-6 p.m.) and given instructions on how you should prepare and what time you should arrive.
- You should not eat anything for eight hours before your procedure. You may take your prescribed medication with a small sip of water on the morning of your procedure.
- You will be staying overnight in the hospital.
- You should arrange for someone to assist you when you leave the hospital. You will not be allowed to drive yourself home.
- You will check in at the South Tower information desk (across from the Emergency Department), where a nurse will admit you to the Observation Care Unit. You will change into a hospital gown and will receive a brief clinical assessment by a nurse.
- Following admission, you will be transported to an interventional radiology suite, where you will be greeted by the radiology nurse, technologist, interventional radiologist physician and physician anesthesiologist.
- The physicians will again discuss the procedure with you and answer any questions.
During the Procedure
- Monitoring devices will monitor your blood pressure, the oxygen in your blood, your breathing and heart rate during the procedure.
- An intravenous (IV) line will be placed in a vein in your arm to provide you with fluids. A catheter (a tiny tube) will be placed in your bladder to keep it empty during the procedure.
- Your groin crease (the area at the top of your leg) will be cleaned and covered with sterile drapes, and numbed with a local anesthetic.
- You will be given intravenous medication which will relieve anxiety and place you in a comfort zone ("twilight sleep").
- A catheter (a small tube) will be inserted into the artery.
- X-rays will be taken during injection of X-ray dye. You may feel a warm sensation in your pelvis or legs that may last a few seconds.
- The injection of the dye may be repeated several times as the interventional physician maps the vessels of your pelvis.
- The procedure will continue with the injection of small particles (the size of tiny grains of sand) into the blood vessel leading to the fibroid tumor(s). You will not feel anything as the particles are injected into the vessels. A member of our medical team will remove your catheter and apply pressure for 10 to 15 minutes.
After Your Exam
- You will be transported to a recovery area for observation for approximately 45 minutes, then transported to your room. You will have an overnight stay (approximately 23 hours.)
- You will experience moderate to severe cramping, nausea and mild fever following your procedure. These symptoms will be treated with medication and will improve over the next couple of days.
- You will experience pelvic cramping for the next several days.
- You will be ready to return to work in seven to 14 days.
- A member of our staff will keep in contact with you by telephone until you are feeling better and recovered.
- You should see your gynecologist for evaluation within six weeks after your procedure.
The S. Mark Taper Foundation Imaging Center provides a full range of advanced imaging, both radiology and cardiology, as well as interventional radiology and interventional tumor (oncology) treatments to the greater Los Angeles area, including Beverly Hills, Encino, Mid-Cities, Sherman Oaks, Silver Lake, Studio City, Toluca Lake and West Hollywood.