What Is Uterine Fibroid Embolization?

Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE), sometimes known as uterine artery embolization (UAE), is a minimally invasive procedure that treats fibroids by blocking their blood supply, causing them to shrink. UFE is an alternative treatment to other available courses, such as hormonal therapy or surgery.  UFE is available through the Mass General Fibroid Program.

How to Prepare for Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE)

  • Consultation - Before UFE, we will image the uterus using MRI imaging or ultrasound to ensure the fibroid tumors are the cause of your symptoms. It helps us fully assess the size, number and location of the fibroids. Your gynecologist may take a direct look at the uterus by performing a laparoscopy. If bleeding is a major symptom, an endometrium biopsy may be done to rule out cancer.
  • Eating and drinking - We may instruct you not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the night before your procedure.
  • Medications - Tell your doctor about any medications you are taking, including herbal supplements. Please tell us if you have any allergies, especially to anesthesia or to IV contrast. We may advise you to stop taking aspirin or a blood thinner for a specified period of time before your procedure.
  • Pregnancy - Please let us know if there is any possibility you could be pregnant. We often do not perform imaging during pregnancy because radiation can be harmful to the fetus. If an X-ray is necessary, precautions will be taken to minimize radiation exposure to the baby.

What happens after uterine fibroid embolization?

People who undergo uterine fibroid embolization will experience varying degrees of pelvic pain and discomfort. The discomfort is most severe in the first 24 hours and gradually resolves over the following one to two weeks. During this time, some patients also experience mild to moderate fatigue.

At Mass General, we admit anyone undergoing UFE to the hospital overnight to ensure you receive pain control and feel comfortable following the procedure.