Uterine fibroids are growths or benign masses that can form on the inside or outside of the uterus. Also known as fibroid tumors, or myomas, uterine fibroids can cause heavy menstrual bleeding, pain, and pressure in the pelvis. While uterine fibroids do not always cause symptoms, they may lead to future complications and usually require treatment.
A common method used to treat uterine fibroids is a procedure called fibroid embolization. Fibroid embolization is a minimally invasive procedure that blocks blood flow to uterine fibroids, shrinking or destroying the non-cancerous tumors that grow on the uterine walls. To consult with a vascular health professional about fibroid embolization and how it may benefit you, contact our Laurel, MD facility at (855) 803-6482.
Fibroid Embolization Procedure
Fibroid embolization involves sedating the patient and using a catheter to inject tiny particles into the two arteries in the uterus. This blocks blood flow, killing the fibroid tissue, shrinking the tumors and relieving symptoms. Embolization can be an alternative to a hysterectomy in premenopausal women and is another option to having open surgery to remove the fibroids. The procedure may also be used to reduce bleeding caused by childbirth or malignant tumors.
Considerations For Fibroid Embolization
Fibroid embolization is an effective treatment for uterine fibroids, however, it may be a better option for women who are not interested in getting pregnant in the future as the procedure may cause:
- Early menopause
Risks Of Fibroid Embolization
While fibroid embolization is considered a safe procedure, there are risks involved with any surgery which may include:
- Reaction to anesthesia
Recovery From Fibroid Embolization
Patients may feel abdominal cramping for a few days after the procedure and may be given pain medication for treatment. Regular activities can usually be resumed within two weeks.
Fibroid embolization has proven to be an effective method of relieving the symptoms caused by uterine fibroids. A patient’s individual condition will be evaluated before deciding if this procedure is appropriate.
Can Embolization Treat All Types of Fibroids?
In general, fibroids are benign tumors that grow in some part of the uterus. These growths are classified based on their location. The three "types" of fibroids include:
- Intramural fibroids. This growth occurs inside the uterus within the uterine wall. These fibroids may be quite small but may cause pelvic pain, lower back pain, bleeding in between periods, and prolonged menstrual bleeding. They can also grow to be large tumors.
- Subserosal fibroids. These fibroids develop on the outside of the uterus. They may be attached by a thin stalk, similar to the way that a skin tag grows on the skin. Subserosal fibroids may cause frequent urination, bloating, constipation, a sense of heaviness in the abdomen, and abdominal cramping and pain. This is because, growing outside of the uterus, subserosal fibroids can protrude into the pelvic cavity.
- Submucosal fibroids. These types of fibroids also grow inside of the uterus. However, they grow within the innermost layer of uterine tissue, beneath the surface where intramural fibroids grow. Due to their location, submucosal fibroids cause significant menstrual bleeding and can affect pregnancy and fertility.
Studies have shown that all types of fibroids can be safely treated with embolization provided that all other candidate criteria are met.