The Positive Effects of Fibroid Embolization
- Created: November 13, 2015
- by: Leah Johnson
Fibroid Embolization Overview
Fibroid embolization is a procedure conducted by a radiologist to treat uterine fibroid tumors. Fibroid tumors are the underlying cause of uterine pain, heavy menstrual cycles, and uncomfortable pressure on the bladder and/or bowels. It’s a minimally invasive procedure, which means that it is performed by making small, less invasive incisions instead of one big one as other surgeries do. As a result of the smaller incisions, patients normally recover quicker and have far less aches and pains than conventional methods, while achieving the same benefits.
The very first step is to have a preliminary evaluation of the patient’s condition while using what is called diagnostic imaging with an X-ray. It’s important that patients tell their doctors if there is any possibility of pregnancy, and let him or her know of recent illnesses or other medical conditions. Other preliminary questions will be on allergies or medications, OTC or prescription. Patients can be advised to stop taking certain drugs in order to prepare for the procedure, so it’s important that all information is shared. Some drugs such as blood thinners may need to be out of the system for several days prior to the fibroid treatment procedure. Patients might also be advised not to eat or drink after midnight the night before the procedure. The procedure will require an overnight stay at the hospital or treatment care center, and all guidelines of the hospital or care center must be adhered.
A catheter (which is thin tubing instrument for transferring substances) is first placed into a blood vessel in the patient’s thigh, which allows for something called contrast material to be injected through the tubing. Patients might feel a warm pressure sensation as the substance works its way up to the uterus. The radiologist next takes a real-time video X-ray—the technical term for it is called a fluoroscopy X-ray—to get a clear view of the arteries, and then carefully places the catheter inside the arteries that are bringing the blood to the fibroid. Next, an injection of polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) solution is put into the uterine arteries. The substance particles form in the designated arteries and stop blood flowing to the fibroid. The process forces the fibroids to shrink in size.
Positive Effects of Fibroid Embolization for Fibroid Treatment
As mentioned earlier in the article, one of the advantages of embolization is that it’s a non-invasive procedure that still allows patients to reap the benefits of full surgery. It can be used in place of a hysterectomy, so patients who are strongly against having a hysterectomy will find fibroid embolization an attractive option.
Here are some specific positive statistics regarding fibroid embolization:
- Studies have been conducted to show that almost 90 percent of women who have this procedure see either significant or full relief from their fibroid-related problems.
- On average, fibroid embolization shrinks the size of fibroids by approximately 50 percent.
- About 80 percent of patients treated with fibroid embolization reported that their fibroid-related symptoms saw an improvement.
- The procedure doesn’t cause bone-thinning, blood loss or the other side effects that can come along with GnRH-a therapy.
- General anesthesia is not required to perform the procedure.
If you have (or think you may have) fibroid-related problems, it is advised that you talk to your doctor at length about any questions and concerns you may have about the procedure.
For more information about Fibroid Embolization, call (800) 311-5840.