Uterine Fibroid Embolization

in Memphis and Union City, TN and Blytheville, AR

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Uterine Fibroid Embolization

Uterine fibroids are the most common benign tumors found in women. They’re also one of the top reasons women get a hysterectomy, so it’s important to know that you have another option: uterine fibroid embolization. At Southern Vascular & Pain Management, Thomas Hodgkiss, MD, has successfully performed hundreds of vascular embolizations, including uterine fibroid embolizations that effectively eliminate fibroids while preserving your uterus. If you need relief from the pain of uterine fibroids, call the office in Blytheville, Arkansa and  Memphis or Union City, Tennessee, or book an appointment online today.

Uterine Fibroid Embolization Q&A

What are uterine fibroids?

Uterine fibroids are benign (noncancerous) growths that usually grow from muscles inside the uterine wall. Fibroids can also develop in the uterine cavity or on the outside wall of the uterus. You may have one or multiple uterine fibroids and each one can be a different size.

What is uterine fibroid embolization?

Uterine fibroid embolization is a procedure that eliminates fibroids by cutting off their blood supply. When blood flow to the fibroid stops, the growth shrinks and dies.

Since uterine fibroid embolization is a minimally invasive procedure, you have less bleeding, a faster recovery, and no scarring compared to surgery to remove the growth. 

Most importantly, a fibroid embolization preserves a healthy, intact uterus and allows you to avoid hormonal treatment for fibroids.

What symptoms indicate I may need uterine fibroid embolization?

Small fibroids may not cause symptoms, but as the fibroid grows, you experience symptoms such as:

  • Pelvic pain
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Long menstrual periods
  • Severe menstrual cramps
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Urinary frequency
  • Constipation
  • Lower back pain
  • Pain during intercourse

In some women, uterine fibroids cause infertility or result in a miscarriage.

What happens during uterine fibroid embolization?

Dr. Hodgkiss applies a local anesthetic and then makes a small pinhole incision in a leg artery. Then he inserts a catheter and uses real-time imaging to guide it through your blood vessels to the fibroid.

After placing the catheter in one of the small vessels delivering blood to the fibroid, Dr. Hodgkiss releases tiny particles from the catheter. The particles, called embolic agents, stick to the blood vessel and block the artery. As a result, they stop blood from flowing to the uterine fibroid.

Dr. Hodgkiss repeats the procedure for all your fibroids, treating every artery delivering blood to the fibroid.

What happens after uterine fibroid embolization?

You should expect to have some pain or discomfort after your embolization. However, it doesn’t last long and most women return to their usual activities in one week.

You may also develop flu-like symptoms such as cramping, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and a low-grade fever. This condition, called post-embolization syndrome, typically peaks in 48 hours and goes away within a week. 

Most women feel the difference as their symptoms go away over the next few months.

If you need treatment for uterine fibroids, call Southern Vascular & Pain Management or book an appointment online to learn more about uterine fibroid embolization.