So, you’re ready to schedule a consultation with an interventional radiologist to discuss the Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) procedure. The purpose of this initial consultation is to determine if you are an appropriate candidate for UFE and to answer any questions you have about the procedure.
As you may already know, UFE is a safe and effective minimally invasive treatment option for non-cancerous tumors of the uterus, also known as uterine fibroids. Not all women are good candidates for UFE, and the only way to know if this treatment option is right for you is to discuss it in greater detail with an interventional radiologist, the type of doctor who specializes in providing minimally invasive treatment options, such as UFE.
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Once you’ve made the appointment, you’ll want to gather the appropriate information so you’re well-prepared for the consultation. In order to make the most of your time with the doctor, you may want to write a list of questions to ask about UFE. Planning ahead of time could alleviate some of the stress you may be feeling about the visit. Another way to help reduce any stress you may have is to understand ahead of time what typically occurs during a UFE consultation.
What to Expect During Your UFE Consultation
Before You Meet The Doctor
Try to arrive to your appointment 10 – 15 minutes early to allow time for the completion of any paperwork. It’s likely that you’ll need to provide your insurance card and photo identification to the front office staff. When it’s time for your appointment, you’ll be escorted to an examination room, where a nurse will take your blood pressure and heart rate. Your height and weight may be measured as well. The nurse will make sure your medical chart is accurate and will review any allergies and medications you are currently taking. The next step will be to see the interventional radiologist.
The interventional radiologist will begin by reviewing the history of your fibroids, what symptoms you’re experiencing, and what other treatments and surgeries you may have tried in the past. He or she will also:
- Review your past medical history
- Verify any allergies you may have and medications you are currently taking
- Review your family history, particularly looking for allergies or reactions to anesthesia
- View any imaging studies you may have had including MRI or pelvic ultrasound
- Discuss your future goals for potentially getting pregnant
You may have a brief physical exam that involves listening to your heart and lungs, examining your abdomen, and checking your pulse.
After reviewing all of the available information and listening to a description of your symptoms and your goals for the future, the doctor will advise you if UFE is an option for you.
Is UFE Right for You?
Remember, not all women are good candidates for UFE. Some of the reasons that UFE may not be a viable or appropriate option for treatment could include:
- Fibroids that are asymptomatic, or not causing any symptoms
- An inability to determine if lesions are definitely fibroids
- Any potential indication that UFE will not be effective or safe for you
After the doctor has reviewed your case, you should have time to ask questions you feel are important. Remember that list you wrote up ahead of time and brought with you? Try not to be shy — most doctors are used to seeing a list and, if anything, this list will ensure that you are appropriately informed about all aspects of the procedure.
7 Things You Should Bring to Your Appointment
- Your insurance card
- Identification with your photo on it, such as a driver’s license
- The name and address of any other physicians you want the consultation report to be sent to
- CDs of any ultrasound, CT scan, or MRIs that have been performed
- A list of your medications and medical history
- Your list of questions about UFE
- Any paperwork, already filled out, that you may have received before the day of the appointment
Being prepared is key to having a useful and efficient consultation. If you bring all of the information about your fibroids, including the imaging studies, then you will be providing the interventional radiologist with, hopefully, all of the information needed in order to make a decision about whether UFE is the right treatment option for you.