Reducing pain while simultaneously fighting fibroids is the happy medium most patients look for when selecting a treatment option. Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) is a minimally invasive treatment that dramatically reduces the symptoms of small fibroids to large fibroids non-surgically by blocking blood flow to the fibroid(s). While this outpatient procedure has a 90 percent success rate and few reported complications, there are cases in which patients experience painful cramping after the procedure.
For those patients for whom the pain is more painful than others, research shows that post-procedure cramping can be reduced significantly depending on the embolic used during the procedure. Embolics are particles released during UFE to block the arteries supplying blood to the fibroid. It is at this point that embolics are released to prevent blood flow to the fibroid. Over time, the fibroid shrinks, and the symptoms of fibroids subside.
To compare acute pain after uterine artery embolization (UAE) with tris-acryl gelatin microspheres (TAGM) versus gelatin sponge particles (GS) for leiomyoma, Dr. Tetsuya Katsumori and his team at the Saiseikai Shiga Hospital in Japan, decided to evaluate the effect of these embolics on the post-procedure pain experienced by patients. These researchers examined 101 patients over the course of 8 years.3
The researchers broke the women into two groups. 52 patients used Embosphere Microspheres as their embolic, and the remaining 49 used gelatin sponge particles. Pain was measured with a visual analog scale that allowed patients to rank their pain by number, as well as by the amount of medications given to the patients to help them control their discomfort.
What the researchers found was that patients who used the Embosphere Microspheres reported lower pain scores, remained in the hospital for less time, and required fewer medications than patients who used gelatin sponge particles.3 Researchers believe this difference is due to the uniform size and spherical shape of the Embosphere Microspheres, which allow for less restriction of blood flow to healthy uterine tissue. This less restricted blood flow leads to less cramping and pain.3
As a health practice specializing in the treatment of uterine fibroids, Embosphere Microspheres are the only embolics we use during our UFE procedures. In addition to using the best available materials, we tailor our pain management to each patient’s needs and medical issues. From small fibroids to large fibroids, UFE is an effective procedure that can significantly reduce fibroid symptoms and help women regain control of their lives.
- Silberzweig, J. E., Powell, D. K., Matsumoto, A. H., et al. (2016). Management of uterine fibroids: a focus on uterine-sparing interventional techniques. Radiology, Sep;280(3):675-692.
- Kim, H. S., Czuczman, G. J., Nicholson, W. K., et al. (2008). Pain levels within 24 hours after UFE: A comparison of morphine and fentanyl patient-controlled analgesia. Cardiovasc Intervent Radiol, Nov-Dec;31(6):1100-1107.
- Katsumori, T., Arima, H., Asai S., et al. (2017). Comparison of pain within 24 h after uterine artery embolization with tris-acryl gelatin microspheres versus gelatin sponge particles for leiomyoma. Cardiovasc Intervent Radiol, Nov;40(11):1687-1693.