Prof Saim Yılmaz, MD
"Side effects of embolization are generally fewer and milder compared with surgery"
What are the common side effects of embolization?
Side effects after fibroid embolization are rare and milder than surgery. The most common side effects are listed below.
1. Symptoms such as pain, fever, weakness, nausea and vomiting may occur after embolization. This clinical picture, which usually lasts 3-5 days, is called postembolization syndrome and resolves spontaneously. However, in some patients this period may be longer.
2. In less than 1% of embolized patients, uterine infection can be seen and antibiotic treatment may be required under hospital conditions. In addition, large fibroids located adjacent to the inner surface of the uterus may completely die and liquify after embolization, opening to the inner surface of the uterus and causing a long-term vaginal discharge.
3. After embolization, menses may be temporarily interrupted in some patients, which usually resolves after a few months. This condition may be permanent in approximately 1-5% of patients. In this so-called pseudo-menopause, the patient is not actually in the menopause because the ovarian hormones are found to be normal. Therefore, typical menopausal complaints such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, sexual reluctance, and osteoporosis do not occur. The patient cannot menstruate only because the uterine cells that make menstruation are affected during the embolization. Menstrual bleeding can usually be restarted by using some hormonal drugs in patients who want it. The incidence of pseudomenopause is related to the age of the patient. While this probability is around 1% in the twenties, it may increase upto 50% at the age of 55.
4. The fibroids located on the inner surface of the uterus (submucosal) can sometimes be expelled spontaneously from the vagina after embolization. This condition, which allows the inner surface of the uterus to heal more quickly, can sometimes cause pain. In a very small part of the patients, a gynecological intervention such as dilatation and curettage may be required to remove the fibroids.