At Oregon Health & Science University, uterine fibroid
embolization is performed by Interventional
Radiologists from the Dotter
Interventional Institute, working closely with primary health care
providers and gynecologists from OHSU and the private community. Click
here for a faculty list.
If you live in the Northwest, and are interested in being considered for the procedure at OHSU, please contact the Dotter Institute at (503) 494-7660.
When a patient contacts the Dotter Institute requesting
uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) at Oregon Health & Science
University, we begin with a brief question-and-answer session.
This can be done by
telephone or in person, at the woman's discretion. Our
goal is to be sure that the woman's questions are answered
and that she fully understands
the nature of UFE.
The next step is for us to review all relevant medical records and imaging studies. These can be sent to us by your primary care doctor or gynecologist, who will need a written request from you. The information needs to be current. The medical records should be no more than a year old, and the ultrasound no more than three months old.
After your records have been reviewed, we will send letters to you and your primary physician indicating whether you would be appropriate for UFE. At that point, it is time for you and your primary doctor to discuss your case and make a choice for treatment. If you and your primary doctor agree that UFE is the right choice for you, the next step is to contact your insurance company for authorization. This sometimes takes a while.
On the evening before the procedure, you will need to stop eating solid food at midnight. After that, your intake should be limited to clear liquids. You will come to the OHSU admissions office at 6:30 AM (ninth floor, telephone number 503 494-8111) to complete some paperwork. You will then be directed to the Interventional Recovery Unit (11th floor, telephone number 503 494-0800).
In the Interventional Recovery Unit (IRU), the nurses will draw a sample of blood and place a catheter into your urinary bladder. This is necessary because the bladder can interfere with our ability to see the fibroids. You will also be given a dose of antibiotics.
The fibroid procedure takes place in the angiography suites on the 11th floor. You will be in the room for about 90 minutes, which includes the time to connect the blood pressure cuff, heart monitor, and oxygen monitor necessary for safe sedation. Your hip area will be scrubbed down with a sterilizing soap and covered with a sterile drape.
The procedure begins with an injection of some local anesthetic. After that, you won't feel much more than occasional pressure over your hip. It takes about an hour to do the UFE. During that time, you will be given additional sedation for comfort, as well as a medication to reduce cramping-type pain.
When the procedure is over, you will go back to the IRU for observation. You will have to lie flat in bed for six hours to prevent any bleeding at the entry site. During that time, you will have a small push-button control that will allow you to give yourself doses of pain medication (usually morphine). After about four hours, we will evaluate your comfort level. If you're doing well, we'll switch your medication to an oral agent called Vicodin. If you continue to be relatively comfortable over the next two hours, we will send you home with prescriptions for Vicodin and Toradol. If at any point your comfort level is not adequate, we will increase your medications and admit you to the hospital overnight.
After UFE, you can expect about three days of occasional crampy pain. About three days after the procedure, you may have a short period of low-grade fevers (to about 100.5 degrees) and some mild flu-like symptoms. This should only last about 24 hours. Some women also have spotting. You should feel good enough to return to your usual routine within five to ten days, and feel completely back to normal after about two weeks.
Fibroid symptoms decrease slowly over the next several months. If your symptoms include heavy bleeding, you should notice a decrease in blood flow within just a few days, and your next period (or the one after that) should have normal flow. Some women experience irregular periods for several months after UFE.
We would like to have a follow-up ultrasound study performed six months after UFE. It can be done here at OHSU or at an outside facility, but we would like to have copies of the films.
Our FAX number is (503) 494-7664, and our mailing address is:
Dotter Interventional Institute L-605
Oregon Health & Science University
3181 S.W. Sam Jackson Park Road
Portland, Oregon USA
Dotter Institute http://www.ohsu.edu/dotter
Uterine Fibroid Embolization http://www.ohsu.edu/fibroid