Reproductive Health

FEMALE REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH

Uterine Fibroid Embolization/Uterine Artery Embolization

Uterine fibroids are very common non-cancerous (benign) growths that develop in the muscular wall of the uterus. They can range in size from very tiny (a quarter of an inch) to larger than a cantaloupe. Uterine fibroids are the most common tumors of the female genital tract. You might hear them referred to as “fibroids” or by several other names, including leiomyoma, leiomyomata, myoma and fibromyoma. Fibroid tumors of the uterus are very common, but for most women, they either do not cause symptoms or cause only minor symptoms.

Uterine Fibroid Embolization/Uterine Artery Embolization

UTERINE FIBROID SYMPTOMS

Most fibroids don’t cause symptoms—only 10 to 20 percent of women who have fibroids require uterine fibroid treatment. Depending on size, location and number of fibroids, they may cause:

  • Heavy, prolonged menstrual periods and unusual monthly bleeding, sometimes with clots. This can lead to anemia.
  • Abnormally enlarged abdomen
  • Bladder pressure leading to a frequent urge to urinate
  • Pelvic pain and pressure

UTERINE FIBROID TREATMENTS

Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE), also known as uterine artery embolization (UAE), involves the injection of an embolic material into the uterine arteries that supply blood flow to the fibroid.  This disruption of blood effectively chokes off the blood supply to the fibroids, causing them to shrink over time.  This procedure is offered by Interventional Radiologists at Vascular Access Centers and provides an effective alternative to hysterectomy for fibroid treatment, preserving the uterus and requiring minimal downtime.

PELVIC CONGESTION SYNDROME

Chronic pelvic pain occurs below the belly button in the pelvis and can be the cause of a number of conditions, including enlarged varicose veins in the ovaries and pelvis. Veins have one-way valves that help keep blood flowing toward your heart. If the valves are weak or damaged, blood can pool in your veins, which causes them to swell. When this happens near the pelvis, it is called pelvic congestion syndrome.

Pelvic congestion syndrome usually affects women who have previously been pregnant, because the ovarian and pelvic veins had widened to accommodate the increased blood flow from the uterus during pregnancy. After the pregnancy, some of these veins remain enlarged and fail to return to their previous size, causing them to weaken and allowing blood to pool.

Treatment

Ovarian vein embolization is a minimally invasive treatment, whereby the physician gains access through a large vein in the groin, called the femoral vein, by using a small catheter, which is a flexible tube. The catheter is moved through the vein to the enlarged pelvic veins, allowing the introduction of embolic agents, which are medications that cause the vein to seal off and relieve the painful pressure.  A Pelvic Venogram can be performed through minimally invasive methods, to determine whether your chronic pelvic pain is a result of pelvic varicose veins.

MALE REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH

 

ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION (ED)TREATMENT

If you have Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD), you may be experiencing symptoms of ED as well (Click here to learn more about PAD)

One of VAC’s unique services is to evaluate men suffering from Erectile Dysfunction (ED). Erectile Dysfunction can occur for many reasons such as the side effect from medications, hormonal imbalances, neurologic conditions etc. If your Erectile Dysfunction is caused by Vascular Disease, diabetes, high cholesterol or other concomitant conditions we may be able provide treatment to help resolve the condition. Using our minimally invasive technology, we can assess the circulation to the penis with an arteriogram.  Based on the results of the arteriogram, we may recommend an angioplasty procedure  to restore or improve the flow of blood to the penis.

This angioplasty procedure for ED is done at our outpatient facility. During the procedure, we place a catheter into the artery at your groin to locate the blockage that may be compromising normal blood flow through your pudendal artery, which is the main artery supplying blood to the penis. You will receive discreet care while having this procedure. You can receive medications that will control any discomfort and relieve your anxiety. Once completed, you will recover for a brief period and be sent home. You could notice results almost immediately.

NONSURGICAL TREATMENT FOR MALE VARICOCELES

A varicocele is a varicose vein of the testicle and scrotum that may cause symptoms like pain, testicular atrophy (shrinkage of the testicles), and fertility problems. In healthy veins within the scrotum, one-way valves allow blood to flow from the testicles and scrotum back to the heart. In a varicocele, these valves do not function properly, causing blood to pool, enlarging the vein.

Varicocele embolization or catheter-directed embolization:

Varicocele embolization is a nonsurgical treatment that is a highly effective, widely available technique to treat symptomatic varicoceles. Embolization is as effective as surgery with less risk, less pain and less recovery time. This minimally invasive technique involves creating a tiny nick in the skin at the groin using local anesthesia, through which a thin catheter (a small tube) is passed into the femoral vein, directly to the testicular vein. The doctor then injects contrast dye to provide direct visualization of the veins to map out exactly where the problem is and where to embolize, or block, the vein. By using coils or sclerosants (medicine injected into blood vessels to make them shrink), the abnormal veins are blocked, which reduces pressure on the varicocele. By embolizing the vein, blood flow is redirected through other pathways. Essentially, blood flow to the incompetent vein is “shut off” internally, thereby alleviating the problem.

For more information about how VAC can help you