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Uterine Artery Embolization (UAE)

Side Effects of Uterine Artery Embolization (UAE)

UAE, like any surgical procedure, runs the risk of side effects and complications. These can include:

  • Infection of the uterus or the puncture site in the groin
  • Organ damage (i.e., injury to the uterus or, in some cases, another organ, such as the ovaries)
  • Problems with future pregnancies and possibly infertility
  • Radiation exposure due to imaging during the procedure, a significant concern for women of childbearing age
  • Scar tissue
  • Hemorrhage
  • Hematoma at the puncture site
  • Injury to the artery
  • Blood clots
  • The loss of menstrual periods (amenorrhea)
  • Postembolization syndrome (the symptoms of which include pelvic pain and cramping, nausea and vomiting, low-grade fever, and fatigue and discomfort)

While UAE does pose some risks, these risks tend to be less than those associated with major surgical procedures, such as myomectomy or hysterectomy, that have been used for uterine fibroids. Surgery, for instance, has potential complications related to blood loss, longer operating time and postoperative problems. In addition, women who have a UAE tend to have less post-surgery pain and a quicker recovery period, and unlike hysterectomy, UAE leaves the uterus intact, allowing for the possibility of future pregnancy. However, some long-term studies have found that women who have a UAE are more likely to require future treatment or surgery than women who have had surgical procedures to treat uterine fibroids. 

Locations for Uterine Artery Embolization (UAE)