Uterine artery embolization - discharge
Uterine fibroid embolization - discharge; UFE - discharge; UAE - discharge
Uterine artery embolization (UAE) is a procedure to treat fibroids without surgery. Uterine fibroids are noncancerous (benign) tumors that develop in the uterus (womb). This article tells you what you need to take care of yourself after the procedure.
When You're in the Hospital
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 shrink. The procedure took about 1 to 3 hours.
You were given a sedative and local pain medicine (anesthetic). An interventional radiologist made a 1/4-inch (0.64 centimeters)-long cut in your skin over your 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 your 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.
What to Expect at Home
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 to 2 weeks after the procedure. Your health care provider will give you a prescription for pain medicine.
Most women need 1 to 2 weeks to recover after UAE before returning to work. It may take 2 to 3 months for your fibroids to shrink enough for symptoms to decrease and your menstrual cycle return 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 provider told you. Make sure you have a good supply of sanitary pads at home. Ask your provider 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 provider to schedule pelvic ultrasounds and exams.
When to Call Your Health Care Provider
Call your provider if you have:
Dolan MS, Hill C, Valea FA. Benign gynecologic lesions. In: Lobo RA, Gershenson DM, Lentz GM, Valea FA, eds. Comprehensive Gynecology. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 18.
Spies JB, Czeyda-Pommersheim F. Uterine fibroid embolization. In: Mauro MA, Murphy KPJ, Thomson KR, Venbrux AC, Morgan RA, eds. Image-Guided Interventions. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 76.
Zagoria RJ, Dyer R, Brady C. Interventional genitourinary radiology. In: Zagoria RJ, Dyer R, Brady C, eds. Genitourinary Imaging: The Requisites. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 10.
Review Date: 9/25/2018
Reviewed By: John D. Jacobson, MD, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda Center for Fertility, Loma Linda, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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