PURPOSE: To evaluate the potential usefulness of transcatheter uterine artery embolization as a treatment for fibroid-related vaginal bleeding and pelvic pain refractory to hormonal therapy and myomectomy. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Eleven patients (aged 27-55 years; mean, 44.2 years; none desiring future pregnancy) with refractory vaginal bleeding and/or chronic pelvic pain related to uterine leiomyomata underwent uterine artery embolization with use of polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) particles. Clinical improvement was assessed by detailed questionnaire at 2-9 months (mean, 5.8 months) after the procedure. Sonographic measurements of the uterus and dominant masses were obtained before and at 2 months after the procedure. RESULTS: All 11 patients underwent technically successful embolization. Eight of nine women who completed the follow-up questionnaire reported noticeable symptomatic improvement, including three women with complete resolution of symptoms. One woman (the only patient undergoing unilateral embolization) exhibited no clinical response. Another patient developed endometritis and pyometra 3 weeks after the procedure, necessitating hysterectomy. Large reductions in uterine volume (average, 40%) and dominant fibroid size (average, 60%-65%) were sonographically demonstrated. CONCLUSION: Uterine artery embolization represents a promising new method of treating fibroid-related menorrhagia and pelvic pain. Further investigation will be required to assess clinical response and durability, identify appropriate candidates, and define the optimal angiographic technique and PVA particle size.
- Pelvic pain
- Uterine artery, therapeutic blockade
- Uterus, hemorrhage
- Uterus, neoplasms