Northwest Community Hospital
800 West Central Road
Arlington Heights, IL 60005
Northwest Radiology Associates
Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology
Phone: 847-618-5890E-mail: email@example.com Schedule a Consultation
UFE is performed in a hospital by an interventional radiologist who is specially trained in vascular embolization procedures. UFE involves the following steps:
Conscious sedation is given through an intravenous line placed in the arm. This will make you very relaxed and sleepy. Most women have no recollection of the procedure after it is over. The radiologist will also give you a local anesthetic at the groin puncture site. Optionally an epidural or spinal anesthetic is used. Your radiologist will discuss anesthetic options with you at your initial consultation.
Once you are locally anesthetized, the doctor makes a small skin nick (less than one-eighth of an inch in length) at the top of your leg near the crease between the leg and pelvis. The doctor then advances a tiny plastic tube (catheter) the size of a piece of spaghetti through the puncture site into the femoral artery which lies just under the skin. Using x-ray imaging, the doctor then precisely guides a tiny micro-catheter into one, then the other uterine artery. There are two uterine arteries, one on each side. The doctor can usually enter both arteries from a single puncture site in the right groin.
Once the catheter is in the appropriate position, the doctor injects tiny spherical particles of biocompatible plastic (about the size of grains of sand) into the uterine blood vessels. These particles enter the uterine blood vessels only and do not effecting other blood vessels in the pelvis. The particles remain permanently stuck in the blood vessels supplying the fibroid tumors, blocking their blood flow. This is called embolization. Devoid of nutrient blood flow, the fibroids will begin to shrink.
The entire procedure takes approximately one hour. Once the embolization is completed, the doctor removes the catheter, places a closure device in the artery so it does not bleed and places a small bandage over the puncture site.