Live Free from the Symptoms of Uterine Fibroids
Uterine Fibroid Embolization is a minimally invasive treatment for treating pelvic pain caused by fibroids. As well as a shorter recovery time it is also safer than traditional surgery or Hysterectomy.
Live Free from the Symptoms
of Uterine Fibroids
Uterine Fibroid Embolization is a minimally invasive treatment for treating pelvic pain caused by fibroids. As well as a shorter recovery time it is also safer than traditional surgery or Hysterectomy. We use a targeted treatment approach by shrinking fibroids to manageable sizes which in turn can eliminate your symptoms.
How We Treat Your Uterine Fibroid
Fibroids are a non-cancerous tumor that form on the smooth muscle of the Uterus wall.
Uterine Fibroid Embolization, also called UFE, is an outpatient procedure done by a specially trained Interventional Radiologist. The goal of this procedure is to cut off the blood supply that feeds the fibroids. This will essentially starve them, causing the fibroids to shrink. As a result the pressure they put on your uterus and surrounding organs is alleviated. Most patients report a substantial increase in their quality of life.
Unlike a Hysterectomy, Uterine Fibroid Embolization does not remove your uterus, and is not major surgery. Because it is a minimally invasive procedure, recovery time is much quicker and you can be out living your life in no time at all.
UFE is a safe treatment option and like other minimally invasive procedures has significant advantages over conventional open surgery. That’s why 90% of all women were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” at final follow-up after being treated.
- Preservation of the uterus
- Decrease in heavy menstrual bleeding from symptomatic fibroids
- Decrease in urinary dysfunction
- Decrease in pelvic pain and/or pressure
- Virtually no blood loss
- Typically performed as an outpatient procedure
- Offers a shorter clinic stay and a faster return to work than a hysterectomy
- Is a safe procedure that involves minimal risk and fewer complications after 30 days, when compared to having a hysterectomy
- Overall, significant improvement in patient’s physical and emotional well-being
- Covered by most insurance companies
Frequently Asked Questions
Is This Procedure Covered By Insurance?
Most insurances cover this procedure.
Who Is At Risk?
Since uterine fibroids are the most common tumors within the female reproductive system, all women are at a potential risk of developing them. The majority of uterine fibroids are diagnosed in women between the ages of 35 and 54. However, fibroids can occur in women of any age.
Are most patients eligible?
Yes. If you are exhibiting symptoms and your MRI or Ultrasound is showing fibroids, it is very likely that you are a candidate.
When can I return to work?
It is normally recommended patients wait 1 week before returning to work.
Do I Need To Be Referred By My Primary Care Doctor or OB/GYN ?
No referral is needed. You can call our office and schedule your consultation with one of our Interventional Radiologists.
What happens the day of the procedure?
You will come in early in the morning and register. An IV will be started on your right arm as the left is always used for wrist access for this procedure.
You will lay on the procedure table and our skilled nurses will give you IV sedation to relax you and make you comfortable. Odds are you will not feel or remember a thing during the procedure.
IV dye is used. If you have an allergy to iodine or IV dye or poor renal function, let us know during the consultation. This usually does not preclude the procedure, and we make a few minor adjustments. You may need to take steroids the night before and/or get extra IV fluids after.
The procedure itself takes on average 30 minutes with a total x-ray time of 4-10 minutes (well below the national average).
What happens after the procedure?
You will awaken from your twilight sedation, pain medications will already be on-board. Afterwards you will rest in recovery for 2-4 hours, then go home. It is rare now with our protocol that you would need to spend the night.
You will feel cramping and discomfort for 24-48 hours. Some women tolerate it very well while others have more severe symptoms. We will manage this as best as medications allow.
Is recurrence of fibroids and symptoms possible?
This is extremely rare. Unlike myomectomy that cherry-picks out certain fibroids, UFE when done properly kills every single fibroid, big and small, even those not detectable on imaging.
Meet your Interventional Radiologist
Dr. Joseph A. Couvillon
Dr. Joseph Couvillon (Dr. Joe or Dr. C) is a medical doctor that is board-certified in diagnostic radiology with an advanced degree (CAQ – certificate of advanced qualification) in vascular and interventional radiology. He finished his training with fellowship at the prestigious Miami Cardiac and Vascular Institute (MCVI), which is widely regarded as the top IR fellowship program in the country.
At Georgetown University School of Medicine Dr. Couvillon was class president. He completed his undergraduate studies here, majoring in English literature.
After medical school, he completed a surgical internship at St. Vincent’s Hospital in NYC. He then completed his radiology residency at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, one of the largest and most well-regarded radiology programs, where he was among the top of his class.
As an expert at treating cancer,Dr Couvillon is skilled at performing the all aspects of interventional oncology. With experience in all types of Interventional Radiology procedures such as uterine fibroid embolization (via radial artery approach), treating and managing peripheral arterial disease (PAD), and many others.
He is an avid athlete that has run marathons and Ironman triathlons. He is a skilled carpenter by hobby. Before medicine, he was a commercial salmon fisherman in Petersburg, Alaska. He is an avid lover of travelling that has run with the bulls in Pamplona, tracked mountain gorillas within the impenetrable forest of Bwindi in Uganda, and has summited Mt. Kilimanjaro (during a blizzard). He is fluent in Spanish. and he loves dogs.
BA, Georgetown University
MD, Georgetown University School of Medicine
Surgery – St Vincent’s Catholic Medical Center; NY, NY
Radiology – University of Pittsburgh Medical Center; Pittsburgh, PA
Vascular and Interventional Radiology – Miami Cardiac and Vascular Institute; Miami, FL
Vascular and Interventional Radiology
Member – Society of interventional Radiology (SIR)