Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) is a minimally invasive procedure performed regularly by the Interventional Radiologists of Interventional Care. Embolization, however, is a procedure that has been performed in other parts of the body for more than 3 decades. All embolization procedures are similar in that they involve injection of a substance into a blood vessel in order to stop the flow of blood in that vessel.
It is easy to imagine this treatment being used in patients experiencing internal bleeding due to trauma, where the injured vessels is identified and embolized in order to stop the bleeding. It is less intuitive to understand why embolization can be applied to tumors such as uterine fibroids.
When the flow of blood to a tumor is interrupted, the tumor undergoes changes that lead to improvements in tumor-related symptoms. Therefore, if the uterine arteries, which are the blood vessels supplying blood to uterine fibroids, can be identified, catheterized, and embolized (blocked) then the symptoms associated with the fibroids can be improved. This is what our practices and practices throughout the world have seen in patients undergoing the uterine fibroid embolization procedure.
UFE was first offered in France in the early 1990s. We have been offering UFE to patients in and around the Capital Region of New York State since 1998 and have since developed one of the busiest UFE practices in the country. Our experience has been published in several articles in medical journals and our physicians have lectured on this procedure nationally. In addition, we have had the opportunity to lead national teaching programs on UFE and other gynecologic interventions through our involvement with the Society of Interventional Radiology. We have participated in all clinical trials evaluating embolic agents for use during UFE procedures and were designated as a core site in the Fibroid Registry, a study sponsored by the Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiology Research and Education Foundation (CIRREF) and the Society of Interventional Radiology (SIR) in cooperation with the Duke Clinical Research Institute.
The experience we have developed with this procedure pertains not only to the physicians performing the procedure but also to the nurses and technological staff that are integral members of the entire team involved in the care of patients undergoing the UFE procedure. As a result, gynecologists in this region have been supportive of our role in the care of patients with uterine fibroids and support their patients as they seek information about the treatment options available to them. It is our hope that this section of our web site will provide information on uterine fibroids, on the treatment options available for uterine fibroids, and on the UFE procedure as it is performed by the Interventional Radiologists of Interventional Care.