Fibroid Embolisation

An interventional radiologist performs a uterine fibroids embolisation procedure for fibroid treatment uk

A fibroid is a benign tumour of the uterus, composed primarily of muscle tissue with a large blood supply. About half of all women will be affected by fibroids at some stage in their lifetime.

They can vary significantly in size. Some women may never know they have them, whilst for others they can cause a variety of distressing symptoms, including abdominal pain, heavy periods and fertility issues.

Fibroid treatment in the UK will depend very much on the size and location. Fibroids can be:

  • sub-serosal (under the mucosa on the outside of the womb)
  • intra-mural (within the wall of the uterus)
  • sub-mucosal (under the mucosa on the inside of the uterus)
  • cervical (arising from the cervix itself, the neck of the womb)

Fibroids may also be pedunculated – i.e. on a thin stalk (hanging like a fruit on a tree). Pedunculated fibroids can be hanging off the outside of the uterus or hanging within the cavity of the uterus. 

Many patients have a mixture of these different types of fibroid at the same time.

Interventional radiology is central to the diagnosis and treatment of uterine fibroids. An internal ultrasound is commonly used to determine the presence of fibroids, and MRI scans can be used to give further information about the number, size and placement of fibroids.

Uterine Artery Embolisation (UAE) is an interventional radiological procedure which involves cutting off the blood supply to the fibroids, causing them to shrink.