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Patient Instructions

Before coming in for uterine fibroid embolization, please review the following instructions for patients for before and after the procedure. 

Before the Procedure

Routine blood tests will be performed five days prior to your procedure.

Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the day before your procedure. You should take any medications you usually take the morning of the procedure, but use only a very small amount of water to swallow them. You should not take aspirin or vitamin E for 5 days before the procedure.

During the Procedure

Upon arrival at VCU Health, please go to our Gateway Building and register at Patient Admitting Services on the first floor before proceeding to pre-op on the third floor.

During the procedure, which typically lasts between 45 and 90 minutes, the patient is awake but sedated. Local anesthesia is required to numb the tiny incision site.

Thanks to the minimally invasive nature of this procedure, catheter placement requires only a small nick in the skin — about the circumference of a pencil tip. The uterine arteries are easily accessed from the femoral artery using a needle. A catheter, or small tube, is then inserted into the uterine artery. An angiogram, or x-ray, is performed to provide a road map of the blood supply to the uterus and fibroids.

After the angiogram, particles are injected with x-ray guidance. The particles wedge into the uterine arteries, creating a nearly complete blockage of the blood flow in the vessels; they cannot travel to other parts of the body. Once one side is completed, the other side is embolized using the same technique.

Arterial flow will still be present to the uterus, but flow to the fibroids will be blocked.

After the Procedure

Once the procedure is complete, you will be transferred to the Women’s Surgical Unit and will receive pain control. You will be discharged the next day with post-procedure instructions as well as any prescriptions for medication as needed.

You should increase your fluids for the first week after your procedure and resume your usual diet. It may take several days for your normal appetite to return.

Outpatient Follow-Up

A member of the medical staff will call you within 24 to 48 hours after you have been discharged and within seven to 10 days, you will have your first follow-up appointment.

During your three-month and one-year follow-up appointments, an ultrasound will be performed to compare your fibroids before and after the procedure.

You should continue routine gynecological care.

For More Information

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the procedure, please call the VCU Uterine Fibroid Embolization hotline at (804) 828-4914.