You’re going to feel a bit tired and uncomfortable after having painful fibroids removed from your uterus. But compared to other fibroid removal processes, uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) is relatively well tolerated, with after-effects lasting only a few days to a couple of weeks. For the best fibroids uterine artery embolization in NYC, call the experts at the Downtown Vein & Vascular Center to schedule an appointment. Get relief with very few recovery side effects.
What Does UFE Entail?
Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE), also called uterine artery embolization (UAE), is a non-surgical procedure that treats uterine fibroids to and adenomyosis. During UFE, an interventional radiologist injects small beads called embolic agents through a catheter into blood vessels in the femoral artery or radial artery. These embolic agents limit uterine blood flow, forcing the fibroids to shrink and die off.
UFE procedures involve the use of a local anesthetic to numb the affected area and conscious sedation to relief discomfort. General anesthesia isn’t normally used. Once the catheter is inserted, x-rays are used to guide it to the uterine arteries. Once everything is in place, your doctor injects the embolic agents and blocks blood flow to the fibroids.
Uterine fibroid embolization, performed by a doctor specializing in fibroids is available at the Downtown Vein & Vascular Center, serving all Brooklyn neighborhoods and greater New York City.
How Will I Feel After UFE?
While uterine fibroid embolization is minimally invasive, most women experience some level of discomfort and fatigue after UFE. The extent of your symptoms depends on your overall health, as well as your specific fibroid condition. After your UFE procedure, you may feel:
- Tiredness and fatigue are common after undergoing UFE and may persist during the week or two following the procedure.
- Abdominal pain. Abdominal pain at the embolization site hurts the most within 24 hours after UFE and often continues at a lower level for the next several days. You may find that a heating pad helps soothe these cramps.
- Cold symptoms. Symptoms such as fever, exhaustion and nausea may result after treated fibroids release chemicals into your system.
- Changes in your menstrual cycle. After UFE, changes to your period are common. You may miss a period, or a period may start earlier than expected. If your fibroids were submucosal — or grew inside the uterine lining — you’re more likely to pass blood clots after the procedure only to see the normalization of bleeding within a month after the procedure.
- You may feel nausea caused by the pain medication prescribed by your doctor to help manage your recovery and due to a post-embolization syndrome characterized by cold-like symptoms.
It’s normal to feel tired and unwell after uterine fibroid embolization. These side effects are temporary and treatable with rest, medication and good care practices. After you complete your post-procedure recovery, you’ll experience relief from such symptoms as:
I had a great experience with Dr. Sobolevsky during my vein treatment. He was knowledgeable, caring, and attentive to my needs. The results were fantastic, and I would highly recommend him to anyone seeking vein treatment.
What Can I Do at Home to Help Me Recover From UFE?
Recovery at home after fibroids uterine artery embolization involves rest. Abdominal pain, fatigue and changes to your period makes recovery uncomfortable for the first two weeks. Your treatment team recommends tips to make you more comfortable and aid in the recovery process, including:
- Rest is an essential part of recovery from any medical procedure, including fibroid embolization.
- Drink fluids. Unless otherwise directed by your doctor, drink fluids regularly.
- Avoid heavy lifting. You shouldn’t do any heavy lifting for at least a week after UFE.
- Avoid demanding activities. Save jogging, working out and bicycling for after recovery. Lighter activities, such as cooking, are usually fine.
- Stock up on period essentials. Some women experience bleeding after UFE, so it helps to be prepared. Talk to your doctor before using tampons after UFE.
- Take a shower. Choose a shower instead of a bath for the first few days after UFE.
- Take walks. Walking increases blood flow and reduces risks of constipation, pneumonia and blood clots in your legs.
- Eat fiber. It’s common to experience constipation after UFE. To stimulate bowel movements, add more fiber into your diet or use fiber supplements.
- Wear loose clothing. For the first few days after UFE, avoid any clothes that add unwanted pressure to your abdomen.
- Take medicine as directed. If your doctor prescribed you medication to manage your pain, only take it as directed.
Recovery from uterine fibroid embolization takes from a few days to a few weeks. After two weeks, you typically feel well and can return to all your normal activities.
How Does UFE Recovery Compare to Other Fibroid Treatments?
Recovery from uterine fibroid embolization is generally more manageable than recovery from surgical fibroid treatments. Some women with fibroids require a myomectomy — a procedure that surgically removes fibroids from the uterus. Others require a hysterectomy — a procedure that surgically removes the whole uterus, including the fibroids. Recovery from myomectomy and hysterectomy involves:
- More time at the hospital. After hysterectomy, you may have to stay at the hospital for observation for up to a few days. After UFE, most women return home the same day.
- More time overall. Recovery from UFE takes from a few days up to two weeks, whereas recovery from surgical fibroid treatment options can take longer.
- Surgical operations leave scarring. During UFE, inserting the catheter requires a small prick in the skin, which doesn’t require stitches and heals without a trace.
- Fertility issues. Following a hysterectomy, you’re infertile, compared to fibroid embolization that leaves your uterus intact.
The recovery for UFE is faster, more convenient and carries lower risks than other fibroid removal or adenomyosis treatment options. And it boasts many benefits as well. To schedule an appointment, contact Dr. Sergei Sobolevsky and his team at the Downtown Vein & Vascular Center.
Sergei Sobolevsky, MD, is a leading specialist in endovascular medicine with experience in vascular and interventional radiology. Dr. Sobolevsky has decades of experience in the field, with over 25,000 procedures performed, accumulating extensive experience in image-guided minimally invasive medicine, diagnosing and treating a range of conditions.
Dr. Sobolevsky earned his Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree in 1997 from the University of Colorado School of Medicine. He received his specialty clinical training in vascular and interventional radiology at Harvard University. Later, he earned his MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management. Recognized as a Castle Connolly Top Doctor and named to the Top Doctors New York Metro Area in 2020, 2021, and 2022, Dr. Sobolevsky is licensed in multiple states, has delivered presentations at numerous institutions in the US and abroad, and now acts as a clinical advisor for the biomedical industry. He also held multiple positions in the field during his career, including Chief of Vascular and Interventional Radiology at the Columbia University Medical Center in New York, NY, Senior Vice President in Clinical and Regulatory Affairs at Artann Laboratories in North Brunswick, NJ, and Medical Director at the American Endovascular and Amputation Prevention Center in Brooklyn.More About Dr. Sobolevsky
Downtown Vein Treatment Center
480 Court Street, Ste 101
Brooklyn, NY 11231