Uterine Artery Embolization
Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous growths in the uterus that cause symptoms such as pain and heavy bleeding for some women. Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) or Uterine Artery Embolization (UAE) is an approved, non-surgical treatment that causes the fibroids to shrink by blocking the arteries that feed them. This procedure has been performed in thousands of women and it has been shown to be a safe effective technique for the removal of the fibroids.
This procedure is done by an experienced Interventional Radiologist. Using local anesthesia, he will make a tiny nick in the skin above the artery in your groin. Next he will insert a tube, and using fluoroscopy, and will guide it to the uterine arteries. Once the tube is in the arteries feeding the fibroids, he will inject small particles which will occlude the blood flow. This will cause the fibroid to shrink over a period of 3-6 months.
The Overlake Interventional Radiologists have Clinic every Thursday to meet and talk with patients about this procedure. When you schedule we will contact your gynecologist and ask for clinic information and copies of any imaging studies that you’ve had in regards to your fibroids. After your meeting with our physician, we will send you for an MRI and then schedule the procedure once we have the results. You can make this appointment by calling 425-688-5700.
When your UAE procedure is scheduled
- Our scheduler will give you a date and time to be at the hospital.
- You will be scheduled to come in two hours before the procedure; this is to allow the admitting staff and the nursing staff to get you ready.
Please let the scheduler know if you take Coumadin, Plavix, Insulin or Metformin. You will need to receive specialized instructions.
- Please notify us if you’ve had a previous reaction to contrast dye.
- The admitting department will attempt to call you the night before the procedure to confirm your arrival time.
- Please plan to leave any jewelry and valuables at home.
- Make sure that you have a ride home, and will not be driving yourself.
- If you have any questions regarding your procedure you may call us at 425-688-5005.
- Do not eat of drink for four hours before your exam.
- Please take your normal heart and blood pressure medications with a sip of water.
- You need to be at hospital admitting two hours before your procedure’s scheduled start time. This is located at the large desk at the hospital’s main entrance (across from Stanza’s).
- Your will be taken down to your room where you will meet your nurse. You will be asked to change into a patient gown, and then an IV will be started and blood will be drawn for lab tests. The nurse will ask you for your medical history. Bring a list of all medications you take and when you take them.
- The nurse will also ask you about allergies. If you are allergic to radiology/contrast dye please let them know.
- The nurse or tech will be shaving both groin areas.
If there is a possibility that you’re pregnant, please let the nurse know. You will be asked to sign a form if you are at a childbearing age (12-57).
- A catheter will be placed into your bladder to drain your urine during the procedure.
- You will be asked to sign an informed consent form.
- Before the procedure, the interventional nurse will meet with you and your family in your room. They will review your procedure with you and answer any questions you might have.
- The procedure takes from one to three hours. You will meet the doctor who will go over the procedure and answer any questions you might still have.
- You will receive procedural sedation medication during the procedure to help you relax. At the end of the procedure you might notice the beginning of some abdominal cramping. We will give you pain medication as needed.
- During the procedure you might feel warmth, tingling or flushing when you are given the contrast dye. This usually lasts about 10 seconds. Throughout the procedure the nurse will be monitoring your heart, blood pressure and the oxygen level in your blood.
- Once the procedure is over you will be transferred back to your room. You may have a small catheter still in place in the artery in your groin.
After the Procedure
- The nurse or tech will remove the small catheter and hold pressure for at least 15 minutes. You will be told to lie flat for up to six hours and to keep your leg straight. This is to prevent any bleeding or swelling.
- Your blood pressure, pulse and puncture site will be monitored frequently by the nurse.
- Unless your physician has limited your fluid intake, you will be encouraged to drink fluids during your stay.
- You will be kept in the hospital for a 24-hour period for observation. During this time the total focus of care will be to control any pain or nausea you may have.
- At discharge, the VIR RN will go over your written instructions.
- One of the interventional nurses will do a follow-up call the next weekday after your discharge. Write down any questions you might have for them.
To speak with an interventional nurse, please call 425-688-5005. It is best to call between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. You can leave a message on the voicemail, and a nurse will return your call as soon as they are able.
If you are on Metformin/Glucophage, hold it for 48 hours post procedure. Check with the physician who ordered it for when to restart it. They might request further lab work.
If you are an insulin-dependent diabetic, restart your regular dosing when you get home. Check your sugar regularly and if you have a concern, contact your diabetes doctor. You may resume taking all of your normal medications once you are home.