Fast Five Questions about UFE, with Dr. Michael Tripp

Dr. Tripp joined Eastern Radiologists in 1989 and serves in the Vascular/Interventional Radiology department. He is the Chief of Vascular/Interventional Radiology at Vidant Medical Center, and Professor of Radiology at the Brody School of Medicine. He is one of six, board certified physicians, with Eastern Radiologists, who perform UFE (Uterine Fibroid Embolization).

Who is a candidate for UFE (Uterine Fibroid Embolization)? 

Women who are frustrated by their symptoms, due to fibroids, such as heavy bleeding, and excessive pain, due to cramping, would benefit greatly from the UFE procedure. It is also ideal for those women who wish to maintain fertility and avoid a hysterectomy. Ideal candidates are usually active and need to return to their normal daily schedule, as soon as possible. 

What does a UFE entail? Is it less invasive than a hysterectomy?

Yes, it is a simple procedure, much less invasive than a hysterectomy. It includes a small puncture wound with small particles delivered, to cut off the blood supply to the fibroids. It is considered outpatient, though a 23-hour admission for observation is required. We conduct a 1-month, and a 6-month appointment to follow-up and answer any questions the patient may have.

What are the benefits of UFE?

Symptoms caused by the fibroids are drastically reduced, if not alleviated completely. Fertility can be maintained due to the patient being able to avoid a hysterectomy. The turnaround time for the patient to get back to their normal schedule is very quick- this is extremely beneficial to those who work and cannot take long periods of time off from work. Many patients refer a friend, after they experience the positive results from the procedure.

How long does the UFE procedure take, and how long will it take to recover?

The procedure itself takes approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes. As mentioned, there is a 23-hour admission for observation, then the recovery time is about a week, as opposed to a hysterectomy, which is usually 6-8 weeks. We have patients who have had their procedure, and in a week, go on a cruise, or take their summer vacation!

Will my fibroids return after a UFE?

The UFE procedure does not make one immune to fibroids. The procedure typically works as a bridge until menopause. Fibroids take about 10 years to redevelop.