Fibroid embolization is a procedure to treat uterine fibroids. This minimally invasive procedure, is performed while the patient is conscious but sedated, drowsy and feeling no pain.
Fibroid embolization is performed by an interventional radiologist, a physician who is specially trained to perform this and other minimally invasive procedures. The interventional radiologist makes a small nick in the skin (less than 1/4 of an inch) in the groin and inserts a catheter into an artery. The catheter is guided through the artery to the uterus while the intervcntional radiologist guides the progress of the procedure using a moving X-ray (fiuoroscopy). The interventional radiologist injects tiny plastic particles the size of grains of sand into the artery that is supplying blood to the fibroid tumor. This cuts off the blood flow and causes the tumor (or tumors) to shrink. The artery on the other side of the uterus is then treated.
Fibroid embolization usually requires a hospital stay of one night. Pain-killing medications and drugs that control swelling typically are prescribed following the procedure to treat cramping and pain. Fever sometimes occurs after embolization and is usually treated with acetaminophen.
Many women resume light activities in a few days and the majority of women are able to return to normal activities within one week.