You had uterine artery embolization (UAE). UAE is a procedure to treat fibroids using radiology instead of surgery. During the procedure, the blood supply of the fibroids was blocked. This caused them to them to shrink. The procedure took about 60 to 90 minutes.
You were given a sedative and a local anesthetic. An interventional radiologist made a 1/4-inch-long incision (cut) in your skin over the groin. A catheter (a thin tube) was put into the femoral artery at the top of your leg. The radiologist then threaded the catheter into the artery that supplies blood to the uterus (uterine artery).
Small plastic or gelatin particles were injected into the blood vessels that carry blood to the fibroids. These particles block the blood supply to the fibroids. Without this blood supply, the fibroids will shrink and then die.
You may have a low-grade fever and symptoms for about a week after the procedure. A small bruise where the catheter was inserted is also normal. You may also have moderate-to-strong cramping pain for 1 - 2 weeks after the procedure. Your doctor will give you a prescription for pain medicine.
Most women need 1 - 2 weeks to recover after UAE before returning to work. It may take 2 - 3 months for your fibroids to shrink enough for symptoms to decrease and your menstrual cycle become to normal. The fibroids may continue to shrink during the next year.
Take it easy when you return home.
Try using warm compresses or a heating pad for pelvic pain. Take your pain medicine the way your doctor told you. Make sure you have a good supply of sanitary pads at home. Ask your doctor how long you should avoid using tampons or douching.
You may resume a normal, healthy diet when you get home.
You may take showers when you get home.
Do not take tub baths, soak in a hot tub, or go swimming for 5 days.
Follow up with your doctor to schedule pelvic ultrasounds and exams.
Call your doctor or nurse if you have:
Uterine fibroid embolization - discharge; UFE - discharge; UAE - discharge
Updated by: Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Bellevue, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
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