Uterine Artery Embolization Recovery Explained
Uterine artery embolization is the least invasive treatment option for women with uterine fibroids. One of the major advantages of uterine artery embolization is that it offers a shorter stay in the hospital and a much faster recovery time than invasive surgical approaches like hysterectomy and myomectomy. Still, many women have questions about uterine artery embolization recovery, how long it takes to return to normal life, what they can expect after the procedure, and if their recovery experience is typical.
In this article, we review the different phases of of uterine artery embolization recovery, and answer common questions related to each of them.
(1) Post-operative recovery immediately after the procedure
(2) Returning to work, exercise, and other normal activities
(3) Side effects and complications that can delay recovery
(4) Uterine artery embolization recovery time
Uterine Artery Embolizationin Los Angeles
Adrianne S, October 2018
Post-Operative Uterine Artery Embolization Recovery
It’s common for patients, especially those treated in outpatient centers, to go home on the same day as their procedure, but this isn’t always the case. Depending on the physician, treatment center, procedural outcome, or patient preference, the patient may be required to spend a night in the hospital for monitoring, IV fluid administration, and recovery.
Pain After Uterine Artery Embolization
Over the counter NSAIDS like ibuprofen are usually enough to manage cramping pain, but postoperative monitoring can help the physician decide if more intensive pain management is necessary. Additional pain control with oxycodone for the first 48 hours may be prescribed, along with a stool softener such as docusate sodium to avoid constipation from the medication. If needed, anti-nausea medication is also available.
Returning to Normal Activities After Uterine Artery Embolization
How Long Does it Take for Uterine Artery Embolization to Work
Bleeding after uterine fibroid embolization varies from person to person. Some women experience no extra bleeding outside of their normal menstrual cycle. For women that experienced heavy bleeding with their fibroids, cycles should become increasingly lighter in the months following the embolization procedure as the fibroids shrink. If uterine artery embolization is successful, women will re-establish a new baseline cycle after 4-6 months, which should be much lighter and closer to their normal cycle before fibroids.
Side Effects & Complications that Can Delay Recovery After Uterine Artery Embolization
Many doctors will prescribe post-procedural NSAIDS like ibuprofen that patients are required to take for the first 5 days following uterine artery embolization. Patients are also advised to take Tylenol for fevers if they’re able to.
Infection is perhaps the most frequently reported complication following uterine artery embolization. Fever, chills, and a foul-smelling vaginal discharge are potentially indicative of the uterus being infected. Patients that experience these symptoms are advised to seek immediate medical attention. A routine post-operative infection is usually treated with simple oral antibiotics, while a more severe infection may require hospitalization for IV administered fluids and antibiotics.
Uterine Artery Embolization Recovery Time
In either scenario, uterine artery embolization offers the fastest recovery time of any fibroid procedure. Hysterectomy and myomectomy are invasive surgical approaches that typically require 1 to 2 nights in the hospital and 4 to 6 weeks of recovery at home. For many women, faster recovery is one of several major benefits of uterine artery embolization over surgery.
If you have questions about your fibroid treatment options, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at ProFibroidMD. We have dedicated fibroid treatment centers throughout Southern California, and we’re here to help you overcome your fibroids.
When it comes to fibroid treatment, we believe that less is more. A less invasive procedure means less trauma, less risk, and shorter recovery time. Learn more about why we opt for UFE, the least invasive treatment for uterine fibroids.