All consultations and procedures are done at all three Northside Hospital locations – Atlanta (Sandy Springs), Cherokee (Canton) or Forsyth (Cumming). Your consultatation appointment as well as any follow up visits are done in our private clinic within the Northside Hospital radiology department. You will check in at the hospital’s registration area and be taken to the radiology department.
Prior to uterine fibroid embolization, every patient needs to have a pelvic examination performed within the last 6 months. In addition, a Pap smear needs to have been done in the last 6 months, which should be normal. Any information regarding the most recent office visit and Pap smear will be useful to bring to your consultation (such as notes from a recent office visit). For many patients who have had abnormal bleeding, an endometrial biopsy may be obtained. The decision of whether an endometrial biopsy is necessary can be made at the time of the consultation. It is not necessary to have an endometrial biopsy prior to the consultation visit.
At the time of the consultation the patient will meet with the Interventional Radiologist who is to perform the UFE procedure and the nurse coordinator that will help guide the patient through her recovery process. At this time any questions about the UFE procedure and what to expect will be answered. In addition, we will use this time to obtain pertinent gynecological and general information that is related to the uterine fibroid embolization. This consultation usually lasts approximately 45 minutes to an hour.
An MRI of the pelvis needs to be obtained prior to the uterine fibroid embolization, which is typically done prior to the consultation. If it has been done at another institution, the films and report should be brought to the consultation visit. Many patients find it easier to have the MRI performed at Northside or Northside Forsyth on the same day as the consultation.
On the night prior to the UFE procedure, you should not have anything to eat or drink by mouth unless given special instructions to the contrary. The reason for this is so we can safely give you medication during the UFE procedure. If you take prescription drugs, these can be taken by mouth with a sip of water.
The scheduling office will give you a specific time to arrive for admission procedures and paperwork registration. A room will be assigned at this time. However, usually the patient will come to the interventional holding area prior to the UFE procedure. Blood samples will be sent and an IV catheter will be placed prior to the UFE procedure in our nursing area. Usually a catheter will be placed in the bladder so that the bladder will remain empty throughout the UFE procedure. This is done because the bladder is directly in front of the uterus and can obstruct our vision of the uterus during the UFE procedure.
During the UFE procedure itself the patient is sedated and usually sleeps throughout the UFE procedure. In addition, local anesthesia will be given at the puncture site so that the needle puncture is not painful. Please refer to the treatment options section for a more detailed description of the actual UFE procedure.
Upon completion of the UFE procedure the patient will stay in the hospital for a short (less than 24 hours) stay. More than 99% of the patients are discharged the following morning with discharge medications. The patient may expect some cramping abdominal pain, but usually this improves significantly by the morning of the discharge. Most patients return to normal activities 4 to 10 days following the UFE procedure.
The patients are given a phone number to access the interventional radiologist who performed the UFE procedure (or the interventional radiologist on call) as well as our nurse coordinator regarding questions after the procedure. In addition, a follow up visit in our office is usually done approximately 2 weeks after the UFE procedure.
A follow up MRI is usually performed 4-6 months after the UFE procedure. In addition, often the patient can expect to have phone calls from either the nurse coordinator or the physician the day after the UFE procedure and then 6 months after the UFE procedure has been performed.
Northside Hospital has long been considered the premier women’s care hospital in the Atlanta area. The hospital is dedicated to giving patients the most current and up to date options for treatment for all their health care problems. The interventional physicians at Northside have performed nearly two thousand uterine fibroid embolizations and have one of the largest UFE practices in the Southeast.