Uterine Fibroid Embolization

Uterine Fibroid Embolization

Uterine fibroids, also known as uterine leiomyomas or myomas, are the most common non-cancerous tumors that grow on or in the uterus. They can range in size from less than 1 inch to 8 inches or more in diameter. As they grow, they can distort the inside, as well as the outside, of the uterus. They can also account for many troublesome symptoms. It is estimated that 20% to 80% of all women eventually develop fibroids. However, not all women with fibroids become symptomatic.

Uterine Fibroid Symptoms

Most fibroids cause no symptoms, and are only discovered when a woman has a routine pelvic examination. If you experience fibroid symptoms, they may include:

  • Heavy or painful periods
  • Anemia (fatigue due to low red blood count)
  • Lower back pain
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Frequent need to urinate
  • Feeling of fullness in pelvic area
  • An enlarged belly
  • Reproductive problems

Most Common Treatment Options

  • Myomectomy: Invasive Surgery
    Individual fibroids are surgically removed.
  • Endometrial Ablation: Minor Surgery
    Destruction of lining of uterus. Common methods include using laser, heat, freezing, electricity and microwaves.
  • Hysterectomy: Major Surgery
    Surgical removal of uterus. Typically performed by an abdominal incision, but can sometimes be done vaginally.
  • Uterine Fibroid Embolization: Minimally-Invasive – Non-Surgical Procedure also known as Uterine Artery Embolization (UAE)
    UFE blocks the blood supply to fibroids, causing them to shrink.

Uterine Fibroid Embolization: Minimally-Invasive –
Non-Surgical Procedure

Temple University Hospital offers a safe, non-surgical alternative to the traditional treatment of fibroids called Uterine Fibroid Embolization. UFE is a new procedure for symptomatic fibroids and is performed by specially trained interventional radiologists.

Studies suggest that fibroids are not likely to grow back after UFE. While uncommon, complications such as menopause can occur. UFE cannot treat all fibroids. Women who qualify as the best candidates for UFE are those who:

  • Have pain or pressing on the bladder or rectum due to fibroids
  • Experience heavy bleeding as a result of fibroids
  • Are averse to having a hysterectomy
  • Are decided against having future children

How is the Procedure Performed?

UFE is performed by an interventional radiologist, a doctor who treats patients without surgery by using X-rays and other imaging techniques to see inside the body. During UFE the patient is awake but given medication so they are gently relaxed. The doctor inserts a thin tube into an artery at the top of the thigh, and then uses X-rays to guide the tube into the uterine artery. The doctor then injects tiny round particles, called microspheres, into the blood vessels that lead to the fibroids. The particles create a "dam" that blocks the blood flow, causing the fibroids to shrink over a period of time.

Some Advantages to UFE:

  • Does not require surgery – a minimally invasive FDA-approved procedure
  • All fibroids may be able to be treated at a single session
  • Does not require general anesthesia
  • Procedure typically takes only one hour to complete
  • Generally only one night hospital stay is required
  • Return to work in approximately one week
  • Covered by most insurance

To schedule an appointment with a Temple Interventional Radiologist to discuss if UFE is an option for you, click here or call 1-800-TEMPLE-MED (1-800-836-7536).

Temple Interventional Radiologists

Gary Cohen, MDGary Cohen, MD
Experienced in uterine fibroid embolization

Chief of Vascular and Interventional Radiology,
Temple University Hospital
Professor and Vice Chair of Radiology,
Temple University School of Medicine

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Cohen, click here.


Dimitry Niman, MDDmitry Niman, MD
Experienced in uterine fibroid embolization
Assistant Professor of Radiology,
Temple University School of Medicine
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Niman,
click here.



To schedule an appointment with a Temple Interventional Radiologist to discuss if UFE is an option for you,
click here or call 1-800-TEMPLE-MED (1-800-836-7536).


Sources for information on uterine fibroids:

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