Medical Q&As

Uterine artery embolisation - available in Dublin?

Do you know if the technique of uterine artery embolisation is available in Dublin? I am 55 years of age and have a large single fibroid and would prefer this to hysterectomy.

The technology for performing uterine artery embolisation is available in Dublin but Irish gynaecologists are not enthusiastic about the procedure because of the associated risks. The procedure involves the insertion of a catheter into the uterine arteries in a technique that is comparable to inserting a catheter into the coronary arteries when performing coronary angiography. The catheter is threaded along through the arterial blood supply to the uterus or womb until the specific artery that supplies the fibroid is located. An embolus or small clot is introduced into this specific artery, which in turn cuts off the blood supply to the fibroid. Once the fibroid is deprived of its blood supply a gradual process of shrinkage of the fibroid commences. Regulatory authorities in the UK have recommend that the procedure should only be performed in centres of excellence where the necessary expertise and experience has been developed. This recommendation was issued following the death of a woman following the procedure. Uterine artery embolisation is a relatively new technique and I think most gynaecologists would be cautious and conservative about recommending it for all women with fibroids requiring treatment. It is likely that this procedure will probably be reserved for those women where a fibroid is a critical factor in blocking them from becoming pregnant.