Embolization involves blocking a blood vessel or vessels to stop blood flow. It can be used to treat a variety of conditions,
- Traumatic injuries with uncontrolled bleeding
- Post-partum and gastrointestinal hemorrhaging
- Aortic and cerebral aneurysms
- Tumors (which require blood to survive). Embolization may be combined with chemotherapy for cancerous tumors
- Uterine fibroid tumors
You will be given a sedative to relax you, along with local anesthesia. The interventional radiologist will then perform an angiography into the artery or vein to pinpoint the source of bleeding.
The doctor then inserts a catheter into the body and uses fluoroscopy (a moving X-ray image projected onto a monitor) to guide the catheter to the treatment area. A blocking agent - a balloon, metal coil or chemical particles - is delivered through the catheter to block the problem blood vessel.
Procedures can take 30 minutes to about three hours, depending on the condition being treated.
- Can often be performed with a sedative and local anesthesia
- Less invasive than traditional surgery, with no large incision scar
- Less bleeding and post-procedure pain, faster healing
- In most cases, only a one-night hospital stay is required.
Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE)
Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE): Fibroids, benign tumors that grow in or on the uterus, can cause heavy bleeding, pain, pelvic pressure and other symptoms. UFE blocks the blood vessels that feed fibroids, causing the tumors to shrink and eventually disappear.
UFE usually is most appropriate for patients who have finished childbearing but have not started menopause.
The UFE procedure:
You will receive a sedative to relax you and local anesthesia in the pelvic area. A catheter is placed in each of the two uterine arteries to deliver the blocking agent.
- Multiple fibroids can be treated in one session
- Procedure can be effective for even large tumors
- Smaller incisions, less scarring
- Many patients notice less bleeding during the first menstrual cycle after the procedure.