Uterine Artery Embolization for Fibroids
Uterine Artery Embolization, or UAE, is a radiology procedure to eliminate fibroids, and can be an alternative to hysterectomy. UAE is a minimally-invasive technique used to block the flow of blood to the uterine fibroids, successfully depriving them of the oxygen and nutrients fibroids need to grow.
UAE is performed in a state-of-the-art Interventional Radiology suite at NWH by an Interventional Radiologist, a specially-trained physician who uses x-ray imaging to guide the procedure. Patients who undergo UAE benefit from a shorter hospital stay and recovery, decrease of symptoms and improved quality of life.
During the embolization procedure, a tiny catheter tube is placed into the artery that supplies blood to the fibroid and small particles are injected into the artery cutting off blood flow and causing the fibroid to eventually shrink and “die.” The procedure has been offered in the U.S. for the past decade and has been FDA approved since 2002.
Carlos Forcade, M.D. is director of the Uterine Artery Embolization Program at NWH. Dr. Forcade is a board-certified interventional radiologist and a regional leader in the treatment of fibroids of the uterus and other vascular anomalies with radiological procedures. He has been treating women with fibroids with UAE for close to a decade.
Among the benefits of UAE for the treatment of fibroids is that, unlike hysterectomy surgery, there is only a brief hospital stay, no risk of surgical adhesions, and a short recovery time. Most patients experience a significant decrease in bleeding and pelvic pain, and an increase in energy level and an overall better quality of life.