Uterine artery embolisation (UAE)
(also known as fibroid embolisation)
Uterine fibroids are the most common type of benign tumour and can be found in 50 to 77% of all women – primarily those aged between 30 and 50. These are firm muscle nodes that grow in the muscles of the uterus itself and can develop to quite considerable sizes.
These fibroids, however, only cause symptoms in around a quarter of women. The typical symptoms are:
- Heavy and prolonged menstrual bleeding which can lead to anaemia with corresponding tiredness and reduced physical capacity
- Increased urge to urinate
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- As the size of the uterus increases due to the fibroid nodes, the abdomen bulges forwards noticeably.
Fibroids that are not causing symptoms do not require treatment. Mild symptoms can usually be controlled by taking the pill or having a coil inserted. If the symptoms are more severe and cannot be controlled with medication, doctors still most often recommend having the uterus removed altogether (hysterectomy).
Fibroid embolisation is an effective, organ-preserving alternative form of treatment in such instances. The first fibroid embolisation in Germany was carried out in 2000 at the Berlin Charité.