Uterine arterial embolisation or can be used to remove fibroids that are growing in the uterus or uterine wall. The proponents of the technique believe that it may involve the fewest risks of surgery and the briefest recovery time.
The procedure involves a catheter being inserted into the uterus and the injection of synthetic particles into the blood vessel supplying the fibroid. It is hoped that this then causes the fibroid to shrink and thus alleviate the pain, bleeding and other symptoms associated with it.
Researchers and Doctors at UCLA have found that eight out of eleven women were treated successfully and that they had a noticeable reduction in their symptoms, three of the women reported that their symptoms went completely. They report that “Uterine artery embolisation represents a promising new method of treating fibroid related menorrhagia and pelvic pain”.
Studies are currently under way to determine whether this technique does preserve a woman’s fertility in the way that other treatments may not. However, there is evidence that most women do experience severe pain and cramping following the surgery which is carried out under local anaesthetic, although most women are back to normal within a few days.
Further information for UK patients can be found at the Fibroid Embolisation website.
Additional information, including a video, can be found at The Society for Interventional Radiologists website in America.
A list of interventional radiologists performing this surgery in the US and Canada can be found at the Society of Interventional Radiology website.