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Recovery from UFE vs. Surgery

What women should know about recovery from UFE vs. surgery

Patients opt to have UFE, or uterine fibroid embolization, instead of surgery due to the easier recovery. Fibroid embolization has fewer complications, doesn’t require hospitalization and has far less downtime than surgical treatments like myomectomy or hysterectomy.

What to expect during a typical recovery from UFE

The typical recovery from UFE is one week or a little less, including two days without heavy lifting. For the first two days following surgery, women can expect to have significant cramping pain of their uterus. The pain comes in waves, often every hour and then will back off somewhat. During this time, most patients benefit from prescription pain medications. After that, acetaminophen or NSAIDs typically control the pain. Once the pain becomes manageable with over-the-counter medications, patients can return to work and begin to resume some of their normal daily activities. When deciding when to return to work, a patient’s occupation may dictate an appropriate recovery time. If returning to a desk job, a patient may feel comfortable after four or five days. However, if a patient is returning to a classroom or a more laborious job, such as floor salesperson or a postal service worker, a full week off may be more appropriate.

Recovery from surgery to treat fibroids is longer and more complicated

Recovery following fibroid surgery is generally significantly longer than UFE. Recovery time depends on whether the surgeon takes a robotic, laparoscopic, hysteroscopic or abdominal, aka as open or traditional surgery, approach. If the surgeon performs an open myomectomy or hysterectomy, recovery is usually four to six weeks without any heavy lifting or sexual activity. Patients typically need prescription pain medications for a little less than a week. If the surgeon uses a laparoscopic or robotic approach, recovery may be two to four weeks without any heavy lifting or sexual activity. The physician decides which type of surgical approach a patient needs based on the number and location of the fibroids they need to remove and whether the patient is having a hysterectomy or myomectomy. If a fibroid is small and located within the inner lining of the uterus, the surgeon may be able to remove to perform a hysteroscopic myomectomy. During this procedure, the surgeon places a rigid tube through the vagina and cervical canal. Recovery from a hysteroscopic myomectomy takes a few days, similar to UFE.

Our Austin interventional radiologist expertly performs the UFE procedure

After exploring the options for fibroid removal, as well as the recovery from UFE vs. surgery, patients may opt for a UFE. Women who need this procedure can contact our Austin interventional radiologist for an appointment.

Symptoms of Uterine Fibroids – Summit Interventional Radiologist
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