Your doctor will likely first evaluate your condition using diagnostic imaging, MRI or Ultrasound. If you are bleeding heavily in between periods, a biopsy of the endometrium(the inner lining of the uterus) may be performed if recommended by your gynecologist to rule out cancer.
You may be advised to stop taking aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or blood thinners several days prior to your procedure. You also may be told not to eat or drink anything after midnight before your procedure.
In the radiology procedure room, you’ll have an intravenous (IV) line placed in one of your veins to give you fluids, anesthetics, antibiotics and pain medications.
Typically you’ll receive a type of anesthesia that reduces pain and helps you relax, but leaves you awake (conscious sedation).The procedure involves inserting a catheter through the groin, maneuvering it through the uterine artery using Fluoroscopy, which converts x-rays into video images, to watch and guide progress of the procedure, and then injecting the embolic agent into the arteries that supply blood to the uterus and fibroids which will block these arteries and cause the fibroids to die and begin to shrink which will result in the uterus full recovery.
In the recovery room, your care team monitors your condition and gives you medication to control any nausea and pain.
- You must lie flat for several hours to prevent pooling of the blood (hematoma) at the femoral artery site or femoral artery.
- Pain. The primary side effect of uterine artery embolization is pain, which may be a reaction to stopping blood flow to the fibroids and a temporary drop in blood flow to normal uterine tissue. Pain usually peaks during the first 24 hours. To manage the pain, you receive pain medication.
- Observation. Post-embolization syndrome — characterized by low-grade fever, pain, fatigue, nausea and vomiting — is frequent after uterine artery embolization.
Post-embolization syndrome symptoms peak about 48 hours after the procedure and usually resolve on their own within a week. Ongoing symptoms that don’t gradually improve should be evaluated for more-serious conditions, such as an infection.