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Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths in the uterus that can cause pain and bleeding. Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) is an invasive procedure that shrinks or destroys uterine fibroids by blocking the artery that supplies blood to them.
During a UFE procedure, a radiologist places a thin, flexible tube called a catheter into the upper thigh and guides it into the uterine artery that supplies blood to the fibroid(s). A solution of polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) is then injected into the uterine artery through the catheter. Normal uterine tissue remains unharmed, because it is not supplied by the affected arteries.
Uterine fibroid embolization is a treatment option for women who do not have pregnancy plans. Although it is possible to become pregnant after UFE, it is also possible for UFE to cause early menopause and infertility.
Last Revised: June 23, 2011
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Divya Gupta, MD
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