What are the benefits of UFE over other fibroid therapies?
1. Minimally invasive: There is no general anesthesia, no inpatient hospitalization, and no surgical incision. A tiny nick in the skin (which is covered by the pad of a bandaid) is the only footprint that any procedure was performed. This is usually completely invisible by the one week follow-up visit.
2. Highly successful: In our experience, over 90% of patients have found significant improvements in all of their symptoms, or the symptoms are completely gone. The remaining 10% of patients are usually only slightly better or unchanged (i.e. not worse). These patients typically have adenomyosis which is harder to treat than fibroids (see Adenomyosis) or have ovarian branches that are also feeding the fibroids in addition to the uterine branches. These ovarian branches keep the fibroid alive and therefore the symptoms remain after the initial UFE. If a woman is not interested in fertility and has these ovarian branches feeding the fibroid, she can undergo a 2nd embolization to treat this rather than undergoing hysterectomy. UFE is a global therapy (like hysterectomy) in the fact that it treats all of the fibroids. Myomectomy only treat some of the fibroids, and Endometrial Ablation does not treat any of the fibroids (tries to treat the bleeding symptom but does nothing to the actual fibroid(s) causing this symptom).
3. Outpatient procedure: 98% of patients discharged home the day of the procedure, and the rest discharged within 23 hours (ie. overnight stay).
4. Shorter recovery time: Average recovery 4 days and one week away from work versus 6 to 8 weeks for hysterectomy or myomectomy.
5. Less risk: No general anesthesia or surgical incisions. For the risks of UFE see separate discussion in this section.