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NorthShore University HealthSystem Management
Uterine Fibroid Embolization
Uterine fibroid embolization is a procedure to reduce the size of fibroids found on or within the uterus using a thin tube (catheter). The catheter releases embolic agents which will block blood flow to the fibroid, causing it to shrink.
It is rare for fibroids to return after embolization is completed, and patients should be relieved of their symptoms.
How to Prepare for Uterine Fibroid Embolization
- Plan to arrive 2-4 hours before the procedure.
- Your physician may perform a laparoscopy, a surgical procedure during which a small tube with a camera is inserted into the belly to give physicians a better view of the abdomen and uterus.
- An ultrasound or additional imaging may also be requested to give your interventional radiologist a clear picture of the fibroid’s location.
- Patients who take blood thinners should stop a week before the surgery.
- This procedure cannot be done during pregnancy. Be sure to inform your physician if you are pregnant, and they will discuss alternatives.
What to Expect
- This procedure will take an hour.
- You will be under heavy sedation (twilight anesthesia), but conscious throughout the procedure. A specialist will administer this through an intravenous line in the arm.
- The area of incision near the groin will be numbed, so you will not feel anything during the procedure other than slight pressure when the catheter is inserted.
- The catheter will be fed into the artery, with your interventional radiologist using imaging to find the fibroids within the uterus.
- The catheter will release embolic agents, which will begin to block blood flow to the arteries that are connected to the fibroid.
- After the catheter is removed, the incision will be covered without the need of stitching.
What to Expect after Uterine Fibroid Embolization
- Our interventional radiologists make your care our top priority post-procedure; we will keep you overnight for observation to ensure that you will be well-rested and comfortable upon discharge.
- It is rare for fibroids to return after embolization is completed, and you should be relieved of your symptoms within the next few days after the procedure.
For More Information
For more information on uterine fibroid embolization, or to schedule an appointment with an interventional radiologist, please call 847.570.2160.