Risks following uterine fibroid embolization, commonly referred to as UFE, are minimal. Most women swear that the relief they get from the pain and suffering they endured with uterine fibroids or adenomyosis is worth the short-lived discomfort that follows the procedure. To ensure you have the least amount of risk with uterine fibroid embolization and any other type of fibroid treatments, call the expert in fibroid removal at the Downtown Vein & Vascular Center in Brooklyn.
What Is UFE?
UFE stands for uterine fibroid embolization, also known as uterine artery embolization (UAE). Uterine fibroid embolization is a minimally invasive fibroid treatment option. During the procedure, UFE limits blood flow to your uterine fibroids, leading them to shrink over time. As the fibroids shrink, your fibroid symptoms subside. These include pelvic pain, fibroid bleeding and unexplained weight gain.
For most women, UFE is an effective alternative to surgical treatment options for adenomyosis and fibroid conditions. The procedure is minimally invasive and doesn’t require general anesthesia. Additionally, typical uterine fibroid embolization takes less than 60 minutes, and you can return home the same day to begin your recovery.
After UFE, you’re back to your standard schedule of activities in about two weeks. Most women enjoy complete fibroid pain relief after a few months. At the Downtown Vein & Vascular Center, Dr. Sergei Sobolevsky and his experienced team of associates offer the benefits of UFE to qualified women following a thorough examination, a complete medical history and report of your symptoms.
What Risks May Arise During Fibroid Embolization?
Uterine fibroid embolization involves less risk during the procedure than surgical operations treating fibroids, but all medical procedures carry some level of risk, which is why you need to visit experienced NYC experts who provide this service on a regular basis. Some risks associated with UFE include:
- Pseudo-aneurysm at the site of catheterization. Any arterial catheterization may be complicated by a post-procedural bleeding at a site of entry into an artery. This rare complication is typically easy to recognize and treat.
- Contrast material reaction. Contrast material — or contrast dye — causes problems for people with a contrast material allergy. It can introduce complications for people diagnosed with kidney disease or diabetes and those who take specific medications.
- Bleeding from a catheterized vessel. Any angiographic procedure can be complicated by bleeding. Your interventional radiologist is fully equipped to stop the bleeding if this rare complication develops.
- Non-target embolization. If embolization particles are introduced outside your uterus, other organs may suffer from the reduced blood supply. The good news is that this procedure is performed under continuous imaging guidance, and this risk is minimal.
Surgical fibroid treatments such as a myomectomy or a hysterectomy involve more serious risks than UFE. Major bleeding and pelvic infection can develop during surgical fibroid removal. During uterine fibroid embolization, fewer than one percent of women experience complications.
Dr. Sobolevsky provided excellent care during my vein treatment. He was professional, knowledgeable, and made me feel comfortable throughout the procedure. I’m thrilled with the results and would highly recommend him to anyone seeking vein treatment.
What Risks May Occur after UFE?
Recovery from uterine fibroid embolization takes most women about one to two weeks, although the fibroids continue to shrink for three to six months and longer. Risks associated with UFE develop within the first few days after the procedure. The most common risks that arise after fibroids uterine artery embolization include:
- Abdominal pain. Cramping is normal after undergoing uterine fibroid embolization. Typically, the pain is most harsh within the first day following the procedure.
- Vaginal discharge. In the first few days after UFE, it’s common to experience more vaginal discharge than usual.
- Cold symptoms. Commonly, for up to five days after UFE, treated fibroids release chemicals that lead to cold symptoms, such as fever, exhaustion and nausea.
- Fibroid expulsion. Sometimes after UFE, a fibroid passes from the uterus, through the vagina and out of your body. Fibroid expulsion occurs extremely rarely and is more likely for those whose fibroids are pedunculated inside the endometrial canal. For this reason, this procedure isn’t typically performed in women with pedunculated submucosal fibroids.
- When embolization material inadvertently propagates to the ovaries as a result of a non-target embolization, a UFE can change hormone levels that may lead to menopause or the end of menstruation. Risk of menopause caused by UFE is higher in women over 45, but it’s a very rare complication.
- Uterine infection. As fibroids lose blood supply and die, they may become infected. The probability of this complication is low.
During recovery, monitor your body and talk to your doctor about any concerns. While some risks are associated with UFE like with any medical treatment, the overwhelming majority of women experience no complications and report significant fibroid symptoms relief.
How Is the Downtown Vein & Vascular Center Equipped to Manage the Risks of UFE?
Dr. Sobolevsky uses state-of-the-art medical facility in Downtown Brooklyn to perform this procedure. His practice is on the leading edge of fibroid treatments, including uterine fibroid embolization. Dr. Sobolevsky and his trained team take every precaution to mitigate risk, ensure a safe environment and provide effective care with:
- The latest equipment. Sobolevsky has all the necessary tools to perform low-risk UFE, including imaging systems, video monitors, an x-ray machine, heart and blood monitors and catheters.
- Safe embolic agents. Interventional radiologists only use embolic agents that are safe and effective for UFE, such as polyvinyl alcohol and microspheres.
- Convenient location. Serving the neighborhoods of Brooklyn Heights, DUMBO, Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill and the Navy Yard, the Downtown Vein & Vascular Center makes it easier for you to access care.
Uterine fibroid embolization is safe for most women with fibroids or adenomyosis. Contact the team the Downtown Vein & Vascular Center for top notch medical care. Take the first step toward fibroid symptom relief.
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