Jefferson University Hospitals

Uterine Fibroid Embolization

Fibroid tumors can present serious symptoms and may present challenges if you are planning a pregnancy. If you are experiencing excess bleeding during menstruation, incontinence or have a persistent feeling of fullness or pelvic pain, you may have fibroid tumors.

At the Jefferson Fibroid Center, you will receive a routine gynecological exam and ultrasound to determine the exact size and location of the tumors. The Fibroid Center is the first and only multidisciplinary center dedicated to the treatment of uterine fibroids, with internationally recognized experts in uterine fibroids, pregnancy-related issues, surgical treatments and uterine fibroid embolization.

Hysterectomy used to be the only surgical procedure used to remove the tumors, along with the entire uterus. For women planning a pregnancy, uterine fibroid embolization (also sometimes referred to as uterine artery embolization but is used for conditions other than fibroids) is now an alternative. This procedure, performed by trained interventional radiologists, blocks the arteries feeding blood to the tumors, thus allowing them to shrink and preserving the uterus. The entire procedure takes about an hour and is done under conscious sedation as opposed to general anesthesia.

What Does a Uterine Fibroid Embolization Involve?

Specifically, your interventional radiologist will insert a catheter (hollow tube) into an artery located in the groin. Under fluoroscopic (X-ray) guidance, the catheter is advanced into the vessels (uterine arteries) supplying blood flow to the uterine fibroids. Once the catheter is positioned in the uterine arteries, small particles are injected to block blood flow to the uterine fibroids.

Following embolization of the uterine arteries, the catheter is removed and compression of the catheter insertion site is performed for approximately 15 minutes. You are required to lie flat for 6 hours following the procedure. A majority of patients are discharged the same day or the following morning.

Make an Appointment for Uterine Fibroid Embolization

To schedule an examination, call 215-955-6440.