Women with fibroids who want to get pregnant need to research all treatment options to ensure their future fertility is protected. Despite more than 20 years in use, embolization treatments (also known as Uterine Artery Embolization, UAE or Uterine Fibroid Embolization, UFE), for fibroids are still a higher risk for women who want to conceive.
“Countless studies have reviewed the after-effects of embolization treatments for fibroids, and the majority of authorities on women’s reproductive health still caution that embolization is not recommended for women who intend to get pregnant,” said Paul MacKoul, MD. “Laparoscopic myomectomy is the procedure of choice for women with fibroids who want to conceive. Sadly, we see many patients who have had embolization treatments who wanted to be able to have children but, were advised by their OBGYN that UFE was a safe option for them. It is common for these women to have either faced difficulty getting pregnant or to have had miscarriages after having UFE.”
While UFE has been shown to provide short-term benefits in controlling bleeding associated with fibroids, the long-term effects are less positive. The reintervention rate (meaning patients who needed additional treatment after UFE, including additional UFE, myomectomy or hysterectomy procedures) was higher than laparoscopic myomectomy.
Pregnancy Complications After UFE: Peer-reviewed Studies
After undergoing embolization treatments, multiple studies have shown women have difficulty conceiving due to impaired ovarian reserve and have a higher risk of complications during pregnancy including placental abruption, miscarriage, and pre-term births.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) committee issued an opinion in 2004 based on a review of existing medical literature at the time, which stated that while UFE is appropriate for treating women with fibroids for short-term relief of bulk-related symptoms (frequent urination, bloating, pain), due to the lack of evidence to ensure a woman’s ability to retain fertility, the recommendation was to avoid UFE or UAE treatments. From the ACOG Committee Opinion Uterine artery embolization: “There is insufficient evidence to ensure [uterine artery embolization] safety in women desiring to retain their fertility, and pregnancy-related outcomes remain understudied.”
CIGC is dedicated to providing information and materials for women to help navigate the complicated healthcare system. CIGC minimally invasive GYN surgical specialists Dr. Paul MacKoul, MD and Dr. Natalya Danilyants, MD developed their advanced GYN surgical techniques using only two small incisions with patients’ well-being in mind. Book a consultation at The Center for Innovative GYN Care or call 888-787-4379.