Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths on the uterus. They aren’t associated with an increased risk of uterine cancer and almost never develop into cancer.
Millions of American women have uterine fibroids. Most cause no symptoms, but about a quarter of women with fibroids have heavy menstrual bleeding, pain, and other symptoms.
Uterine fibroid embolization is a minimally invasive procedure that shrinks the fibroid.
In this procedure, interventional radiologists feed a catheter through an artery to the uterus. They then pass tiny particles through the catheter into uterine blood vessels. Because the fibroid tumors take up most of the blood flow in the uterus, these particles are drawn to the fibroids. The particles wedge into the blood vessels, blocking blood flow to the fibroids, which then shrink about 40 to 60 percent. Doctors recommend an MRI as a pre-screening tool to show the exact location of the fibroids, as well as any other conditions that might be causing symptoms.
UT Southwestern doctors are also testing a medication that can reduce the size of fibroids.
These procedures are performed with conscious sedation, which is a process in which you are given medication to make you sleepy, but not unconscious. Conscious sedation requires that you not eat a meal for eight hours before the procedure. Most medications can be taken the morning of the procedure except for medications that affect blood clotting (aspirin, Plavix, Lovenox, Coumadin, etc). If you are taking one of these medications, you may need to stop taking it or be switched to another medicine for a few days before the procedure. This will be coordinated by your doctor if necessary.
Uterine fibroids don’t generally require treatment, but they can be shrunk through a process called embolization or removed via surgery if they cause symptoms.
Our interventional radiologists specialize in performing uterine fibroid embolizations and in treating the areas of the body in which the fibroids occur. In addition, we have additional fellowship training in interventional radiology, plus extensive real-world experience.
Our team of interventional radiologists and physician assistants coordinates your complete care – from imaging evaluation to post-procedure follow-up – maintaining a high level of communication with you throughout the process.
In addition, we coordinate closely with experts from across the UT Southwestern community when necessary.
To meet with an interventional radiologist at UT Southwestern's facilities in Dallas, or for more information about our services, request an appointment or call 214-645-8300.