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Uterine fibroid embolization is a minimally-invasive treatment for fibroid tumors within the uterus. Fibroid tumors, also called myomas, are benign tumors that can cause heavy menstrual bleeding, abdominal pain, low back pain, and pressure on the bladder and other nearby organs. UFE can stop excess bleeding caused by both benign fibroid and malignant uterine tumors, as well as hemorrhaging related to childbirth, pelvic injury, and certain other gynecological conditions.

An MRI or ultrasound imaging test will confirm the presence, size, number, and location of fibroid tumors or other conditions that may account for the bleeding.

Using a fluoroscope, which is a specialized x-ray that uses contrast material to highlight blood vessels in remarkable detail, your MIT radiologist will guide a very thin, soft catheter to the “feeder” arteries providing blood flow to the fibroids, and inject them with a material that seals them shut so that the fibroids starve and shrink. UFE is effective in relieving fibroid symptoms in nearly 9 out of 10 patients.

UFE can sometimes be an alternative solution to hysterectomy, but may not be recommended for women who wish to become pregnant, because it is not yet established to what degree UFE may impact fertility.