Uterine Artery Embolization
Stopping postpartum hemorrhage, or bleeding after child birth
In the days after giving birth, some women experience what is called postpartum hemorrhage, or bleeding after childbirth.
When the muscles of the uterus are weakened by the act of birth, the blood vessels of the uterus may be allowed to bleed freely.
An interventional radiologist may be called upon to offer a minimally-invasive procedure that can stop the bleeding.
The procedure begins when an interventional radiologist injects the patient’s in the upper leg with numbing medication called lidocaine.
The physician then inserts a tube (catheter) through the skin and into the patient’s artery in her upper leg (femoral artery).
The physician steers the catheter toward the uterine artery, which is the blood vessel feeding all of the smaller vessels that are causing the bleeding.
Once the vessels causing the bleeding have been identified, embolic agents are injected that work to plug up the vessels and stop the bleeding (embolize).