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Suffering from fibroids?
Considering Non-surgical treatment?
Maybe we can help.

Uterine Fibroid Embolisation (UFE)

> Non-surgical alternative treatment for fibroids.

> Shrinks fibroids by cutting blood supply.

> Treats heavy menstrual periods, bladder symptoms and period pain.

> Alternative to surgery (myomectomy and hysterectomy). 

> Condoleezza Rice had UFE for her fibroids.

How does UFE work? Watch this video to learn more.

Listen to Dr Ross Walker's radio interview with Fibroid Embolization Specialist Dr Eisen Liang on UFE (Uterine Artery Embolisation)

Channel 7 News on UFE- Nonsurgical Treatment for Fibroids

Watch this 1.5 minutes video to learn more.

Dr Eisen Liang and Dr Bevan Brown Discussing UFE as treatment for Fibroids

Watch this 3 minutes Today Tonight video by Channel 7 News Team.

In Essence

Uterine Fibroid Embolisation (UFE)

> Local Anaesthetic Procedure
> Proven to be safe and effective
> 90% Patient satisfaction rate
> No surgical cuts, no general anaesthetic.
> 1-2 nights in hospital, 1 week recovery.
> Multiple fibroids treated in one go.
> Keep your uterus, avoid hysterectomy.

What are fibroids and what are the symptoms?

Fibroids are very common non-cancerous growth in the uterus. Depending on the size and location of fibroids, they may cause heavy periods and painful periods, as well as bulk related symptoms such as urinary frequency and abdominal distention.

What are the treatment options?    

Your GP and gynaecologist might have already tried or considered simple measures like medical therapy, progestogen releasing intrauterine device (IUD) and ablation. These treatments might help your heavy period but do not shrink the fibroids. In the past, when these treatments failed, hysterectomy (removal of the whole uterus) or myomectomy (removal of the fibroids) may be needed. For those women who want to avoid major surgery, uterine fibroid embolisation (UFE) is a safe and effective alternative.

What is uterine fibroid embolisation? 

Uterine fibroid embolisation (UFE) is also known as uterine artery embolisation (UAE). Tiny particles are injected inside the arteries to block the blood flow, starving the fibroids, leading to shrinkage and alleviation of symptoms. This is a local anaesthetic procedure performed by an interventional radiologist. Only a tiny nick is needed to allow the insertion of a small catheter (a tube 1- 2 mm in diameter). It is advanced into the arteries of the uterus under X-ray guidance.

How effective is UFE?

Many studies have shown that UFE is as effective as surgery in alleviating fibroid symptoms and improving women’s quality of life. Our own study showed that more than 90% of women treated were happy or very happy with the outcome. Size and number of fibroids dose not usually matter for UFE.

Case Study 1

44 year old lady with severe heavy menstrual period requiring super pad change every 2 hours. She tried medications such as tranexamic acid but it was not helping. She choose to have UFE to keep her uterus. At 6 months post UFE: her fibroid shrank from 138ml to 51ml; her heavy period resolved and she is "Estatic".

Case Study 2

38 year old busy mother of 2 with severe heavy menstrual bleeding requiring Pad and Tampon change every hour heavy for 3 days of her period. She also suffers from bladder symptoms and severe period pain. She felt she is too young to have hysterectomy and choose to have UFE. Her fibroid shrank from 87ml to only 2ml, and her periods are now "amazingly light" and she is "extremely happy" with the UFE outcome.

Case Study 3

Case Study 3

43 year old teacher with a bulging tummy, complains of bloating and pressure, urinary frequency and night time urination. She is well and healthy otherwise, not interested in major surgery. Note the marked reduction of fibroid volume from 533ml to 211ml at 6 month progress MRI; the fibroid is no longer viable, seen as dark signal without contrast enhancementt; note the normal looking viable enhancing myometrium “M”. All her symptoms resolved. She is glad that she can now fit her jeans again. 

Case Study 4

Case Study 4

48 year old wife of a doctor suffering from severe heavy menstrual bleeding, anaemia, low iron. She failed Tranexmic acid but is not interested in long term hormone pills;. She had hysteroscopic removal of 2 intracavitory fibroids and insertion of Mirena. She continued to suffer from HMB but declined hysterectomy. Pre-UFE MRI showed numerous fibroids denoted as “F”. The fibroids became non-viable and shrunken, seen as non-enhancing dark nodules. The uterine volume reduced from 781ml to 349ml. Her periods become very light and she is very happy – “UFE changed my life”. 


Procedural related complications such as injury to artery are very rare (<1%). Delayed complications, such as shedding of dead fibroid fragments causing blockage and infection of the uterus, occur in 1- 3%. If you developed pain, fever and smelly vaginal discharge, you will need to be assessed and treated in a hospital emergency department. Most fragments can pass by themselves; rarely they need to be removed by a gynaecologist via vagina. The need for hysterectomy is highly unlikely.

Yes, but this is more likely to be age related natural menopause, rather than caused by UFE. If you were younger than 40, the chance of natural menopause is less than 3%; if you were older than 50 the chance is more than 40%. Some particles might find their way to the ovaries via shared blood supply. However, studies have shown that UFE does not affect ovarian function in treated women.

Yes, studies have shown that successful pregnancy outcome is possible after UFE and babies are not smaller. If the uterus were not normal to start with, the rates of miscarriage, preterm delivery, caesarean section and postpartum haemorrhage could be higher. Clinical trials are being conducted in UK to see which of the two - myomectomy or UFE, has a better pregnancy outcome.

Yes. Studies from overseas and our own experience have shown that UFE is highly effective for adenomyosis as well. Adenomyosis is abnormal migration of glandular tissue from the inner lining of the uterus into the muscle layer. Cyclic changes of these enlarged glands cause period pain and heavy periods. It is not an easy diagnosis to make by ultrasound. It is often discovered and confirmed by Pre-UFE MRI. If you wish to find out more about adenomyosis, please or see separate brochure “Adenomyosis”.

No. UFE has been performed since 1995. Overseas and local studies have proven that UFE is safe and effective in treating fibroid symptoms. UFE has been rebatable by Medicare since 2006. It is recognised as an effective treatment option by Colleges of O&G in UK, USA and Australia New Zealand.

If you were troubled by fibroids and simple measures have not been effective, then UFE could be an alternative to hysterectomy, especially if you wish to preserve your uterus, avoid major surgery and desire a quicker recovery.

Patients Information

Fibroids are common benign (non-cancerous) tumours in women. Up to 25% of women of reproductive age may harbour one or more fibroids. Not all women with fibroids suffer from symptoms. Between 10-40% women with fibroid develop symptoms and requires treatments.

Symptoms of fibroids include heavy periods, a bulky uterus and period pain.

Fibroids may distort the inner lining of the uterus and cause heavy periods, requiring frequent change of pads and tampons. You might be concerned about soiling clothing. You might feel anxious about travelling, work and exercise, limiting your work and social activities. Prolonged heavy periods may lead to anaemia. You might feel tired, worn out, as if energy has been drained out of your body. Your GP might have suggested iron supplement. Severe anaemia can cause shortness of breath, palpitation and heart failure. Blood transfusion is needed if your haemoglobin is too low.

Fibroids can make your uterus bulky. You might feel a protrusion in your lower tummy, making you feel as you have put on weight. The uterus is sitting on top of the bladder and therefore limiting the bladder capacity. You might find that you urinate more often during daytime and start to wake up to pass urine at night. You often need to rush to a toilet and sometimes you might loose control with coughing, sneezing and exercise.

Fibroid can cause period pain as well. We did not realize this until we have treated a number of women with uterine fibroid Embolisation (UFE). Many women reported substantial relief of their period pain following UFE.

Every one is different. A thin individual might find the fibroids more noticeable than a larger person. Someone who has a sensitive bladder may have bladder symptoms with quite average sized fibroids. Fibroids are benign tumours that require treatment only when symptoms are bothering you and affecting your quality of life. Of course if the heavy periods are causing anaemia you should consider treatment.

If you are not sure, make an appointment to see your doctor or Dr Liang to discuss further.

The choice of treatments depends on the type and severity of symptoms, as well as size and location of fibroids. Below is a general discussion of different treatment options. For detailed description of different treatments please see specific pages.

Your GP and gynecologist might have tried different medical therapies such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents (eg. Naprosyn), birth control pills, or progesterone agents. If the above failed, the decision for further medical treatment depends on your age, the size of the fibroids, the desire for future pregnancy, and the severity of symptoms. In certain circumstances a Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone (GnRH) agonist may be used. However it may cause hot flashes and mood changes and osteoporosis. The use is usually limited to 6 months. Fibroids usually regrow after GnRH agonists are stopped.

Progestogen releasing intrauterine device (IUD) may be helpful for heavy period. However, it does not reduce the size of the fibroids.

Emdometrial ablation destroys the inner lining with heat energy and you may no longer have any more menstrual periods. The treatment however dose not shrink the fibroid and therefore will not relieve bulk related symptoms.

Small fibroids protruding into the cavity of the uterus can be removed by hysteroscopic resection (removal with the aid of using a camera through the vagina and cervix).

Traditionally when the above treatments failed or were unsuitable, hysterectomy (removal of the entire uterus) is offered to women. However, hysterectomy is a major surgery that requires 5-6 weeks of recovery. It carries the risks of a major surgery and is associated long-term adverse effects.

Myomectomy (removal of fibroid only) is offered to women who wish to retain the uterus and fertility. It is possible only for small number of fibroids in suitable locations. It is technically more demanding to the surgeon, takes longer time to perform and more likely that you will require a blood transfusion. Sometimes myomectomy is converted to hysterectomy if the surgeon is unable to control the bleeding or reconstruct the uterus. Like hysterectomy, abdominal myomectomy takes 5-6 weeks to recover. Laparoscopic (key-hole) myomectomy is quicker to recover then abdominal myomectomy, but is technically more challenging to the surgeons to perform.

Uterine fibroid Embolisation (UFE) is a non-surgical alternative to hysterectomy. It is minimally invasive, and highly effective in reducing heavy period, shrinking the fibroids and relieving period pain. Studies have shown that UFE is as effective as hysterectomy in improving the women’s quality of life.

Malignant (cancerous) fibroids are very rare. It is called leiomyosarcoma. It is found in 2-5 per thousand hysterectomies and 4 per thousand cases of uterine fibroid Embolisation. Fear of sarcoma should not be normally construed as a reason for hysterectomy. Hysterectomy itself has a mortality rate of 0.5-4 per thousand. Other adverse effects of hysterectomy significantly outweigh the very small risk of missing a sarcoma.(See also adverse effect of hysterectomy click here). Rate of growth, size of the fibroid, utrasound and MRI cannot reliably diagnose sarcoma. Failure to respond to Embolisation, especially continuing growth and pain, are warning signs. Therefore it is important to attend imaging follow-ups after UFE.


What are the treatment options for fibroids and which one is suitable for me?

The choice of treatment depends on the type and severity of symptoms, as well as the size and location of fibroids. Below is a general discussion of different treatment options. Please see specific pages for uterine fibroid embolisation and hysterectomy.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g. Naprosyn), birth control pills, or progesterone agents maybe used to control heavy periods. However these treatments do not reduce the size of the fibroids. Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone (GnRH) agonist is used to control bleeding and it may slightly reduce size of the uterus and fibroid. However, due to its common side effects such as hot flashes, mood changes and osteoporosis, its use is usually limited to 6 months. Fibroids usually regrow after GnRH agonists are stopped.

Cyclokapron reduces heavy period by enhancing clotting ability. The side effects are deep venous thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (clots in the lung).

The device is inserted in the rooms of your GP or gynaecologists. It is only helpful for heavy period. It does not reduce the size of the fibroids. When fibroids are large and distorting the cavity, it may be difficult to insert and remove the device. Sometimes device may not stay in. In some women, heavy bleeding could be converted to prolonged spotting which could be quite annoying as well.

The procedure is performed under general anaesthetic in an operating theatre. It uses heat energy to destroy the inner lining of the uterus. You may no longer have menstrual period. However, the treatment dose not shrink the fibroid and therefore will not relieve symptoms related to the bulk of the fibroids, such as urinary symptoms.

If your uterine cavity is distorted by fibroid, the procedure may not be successful due to lack of effective contact between the heating device and the lining of the uterus.

This is usually a general anaesthetic procedure performed in operating theatre. The procedure is much less invasive than hysterectomy. The procedure is only suitable for small fibroids protruding into the cavity of the uterus. They are removed with the aid of a camera through the vagina and cervix.

This is a surgical operation to remove one or a few fibroids. This is offered to women who wish to retain the uterus and fertility. It is possible only for a small number of fibroids in suitable locations. It is technically more demanding to the surgeon, takes longer time to perform, more likely to require blood transfusion and requires 5-6 weeks for recovery. Sometimes myomectomy is converted to hysterectomy if the surgeon is unable to control the bleeding or reconstruct the uterus.

Myomectomy improves heavy menses in 70-80% of patients. Development of adhesion (internal scarring of the abdomen) is a potential side effect. Recurrence of fibroids occurs in 40-50% of women*.

The recovery is quicker with laparoscopic myomectomy, but the surgical risks are not lower. Laparoscopic surgery is technically more demanding and there is a steep learning curve for the surgeons. Due to limited access and visualization, and it can be more risky in terms of injuries to blood vessels, bowel, bladder and ureter. Whether laparoscopic surgery is the right choice for you depend on the reason for your hysterectomy, your desire for quick recovery, as well as skill and the experience of the surgeon.

* Reference: Chapter 9, Williams Gynaecology 2008.

Uterine fibroid embolization(UFE) is a non-surgical alternative to hysterectomy. It is minimally invasive, but highly effective in reducing heavy period, shrinking fibroids and relieving period pain. Studies have shown that UFE is as effective as hysterectomy in improving the women's quality of life. Please see separate sections on "Uterine Fibroid Embolisation", "Hysterectomy vs UFE" and "Patient Testimonials".


Painless. Non-invasive. Outpatient.


Long treatment time on the MRI machine.

High equipment cost and staff cost ( radiographer, nurse, supervising radiologist).

Viable fibroid tissue left behind becomes nidus for regrowth.

Only small fraction of suitable patients

No Medicare nor health fund rebate, and therefore there will be no rebatable doctors' fee, theatre banding charges and in-hospital bed fee.

Currently only available in Melbourne.

Exclusion criteria:

Obesity >120 kg or 250lbs

Pedunculated fibroid

Abdominal scar

Desire future pregnancy

Fibroid volume >900mL or more than 7 fibroid

Submucosal fibroid > 3cm


Bright T2 and/or vascular fibroids

Calcified fibroid

Longer then 3 hours of treatment time

Safety concerns:

Abdominal scar distort ultrasound beam and can cause skin injury and ineffective heating of fibroids.

Fibroids too close to skin can cause skin burns.

Fibroids too close to bone cause overheating and nerve damage.

Fibroids too close to bowel cause thermal injury.

Subserosal fibroid < 3cm in size may cause thermal injury to adjacent tissue, because focal ablation zone is 2.5cm along its beam.

Submucosal fibroid > 3cm may slough off and cause cervical obstruction.

Efficacy concerns:

8cm fibroid takes 3 hours to treat.

T2 bright/vascular fibroids difficult to heat, may not respond.

Heterogenous/sepatated/non-perfused fibroids do not respond well

Calcified fibroid difficult to heat up. It may refocus ultrasound and cause thermal injury to non-target organs.

Size and number fibroid
Any size and numbers
Desire pregnancy
Maybe suitable
Maybe suitable
Not suitable
T2 bright Heterougenous Hypervscular
Less effective
Nontarget energy reflection
Not affected
Abdominal scarring
Skin injury
Not affected
Obesity, thick uneven abdominal fat
Less effective
Not affected
Target deeper than 12 cm
Not effective
Not affected
Too close to bone 
Nerve damage
Not affected
Too close to skinSkin injuryNot affected

UFE and MRgFU are not competitive, but complementary.

There are cases not suitable for UFE but suitable for MRgFU, and vice versa.


UFE is also known as UAE (uterine artery embolisation). It is a minimally invasive procedure performed by interventional radiologist to embolise (block) the blood supply to the uterus. By limiting blood supply to the uterus, the fibroids will shrink and the associated symptoms subside. It is a non-surgical alternative to hysterectomy.

It is highly effective in treating the symptoms of fibroids without having to surgically remove the fibroid or uterus. It is a procedure performed under local anaesthetic, and therefore it is much less invasive than hysterectomy. Compare to hysterectomy, UFE requires shorter hospital stay (typically 1-2 days versus 2-7 days) and much shorter convalescence (typically 1 week versus 4-6 weeks) before returning to work or normal activities.

The procedure is performed in an angiography suite. The patient is conscious but sedated with IV medications. Local anaesthetic is given at the groin where a tiny nick in the skin is made. Catheter (a small tube 1-2 mm in diameter) is inserted into the femoral artery at the groin and guided under X-ray to reach the uterine arteries. Tiny plastic particles (0.3-0. 5mm) are mixed with X-ray dye, and injected under X-ray control to block the uterine arteries.

Studies suggest UAE is as effective as hysterectomy in controlling primary symptoms of heavy period, bulk related symptoms and period pain. UFE and surgery are equivalent in improvement of quality of life. On average, 85-90 % of women who have had the procedure experience significant or total relief of heavy bleeding, pain and/or bulk-related symptoms. Our own success rate at Sydney Adventist Hospital is higher than 90%. The procedure is effective for multiple fibroids and large fibroids. Recurrence of treated fibroids is very rare. Short and mid-term data show UFE to be very effective with a very low rate of recurrence. In one study in which patients were followed for six years, no fibroid regrew after embolisation.

UFE is a minimally invasive procedure. It is very safe compare with major surgery. Spillage of particle away from uterine artery, vessel injury at the groin are all very rare complications, each occuring in less than 1 %. We did not have any significant procedural related complications at the Sydney Adventist Hospital.

Infection of the uterus (endometritis) is rare (3 %). Pain, fever and vaginal discharge are the symptoms. This is usually managed with prompt administration of IV antibiotics.

Fibroid expulsion through the cervix occurs in &lt; 3%. In majority of cases, the fibroid fragments can be passed successfully. Some may require a minor procedure to remove the fibroid fragments.

Transient amenorrhea occurs in 5-10 % of patient after UFE. Younger patient tends to regain periods within 6 months. Permanent amenorrhea (menopause) occurs in less than 3% of women younger than age 45, but more frequent (7-14%) in age &gt; 45. This may reflect the fact that women in mid 40s or older is already nearing menopause.

The procedure itself is essentially pain free. The local anaesthetic at the groin stings for about ten seconds before taking effect.

Soon after embolisation, the fibroids are strangulated (cut off of blood supply) and pain maybe experienced. The degree varies between individuals. We have a robust pain control protocol that has worked well for our patients. You will be given a PCA (patient controlled analgesia) through the IV drip. The pain is usually worst for the first 6 to 8 hours. PCA are usually no longer required the following day. Pain is then controlled with oral medications, typically regular Panadol and Nurofen or non-steriodal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Pain should subside within 4 to 5 days. Patient should anticipate returning to work and normal activities around 7 days after the procedure.

This is a complex issue. Presence of fibroids can make you difficult to get pregnant, potentially cause miscarriage and difficulties in normal vaginal delivery. Traditionally myomectomy is recommended if fibroids are thought to be interfering with fertility and pregnancy. Myomectomy however is still a major surgery, usually more technically challenging than hysterectomy. The risk of blood transfusion is higher than hysterectomy. There is also risk of hysterectomy if the surgeon is not able to preserve the uterus.

Studies have shown that UFE does not appear to affect ovarian function in younger women. Menopause after UFE tends to occur in older women close to natural menopause. There are theoretical concerns about negative impact on ovarian and uterine function after UFE. However, there are numerous reports of pregnancies following UFE. Dr Walker from UK has a large series of 105 pregnancies following UFE. His result has influenced the way in which patients with fibroids wanting to become pregnant should be counselled. For fibroids interfering with fertility, especially those not suitable for myomectomy or hysteroscopic resection, UFE should be considered as an option for treatment with advice that a successful pregnancy outcome is possible after UFE.

It should be emphasised that the aim of UFE is to treat fibroid symptoms with a minimally invasive technique to avoid hysterectomy. UFE is not intended to maintain uterine viability for pregnancy, although pregnancy is possible after UFE.

1. All patients will be required to have a pre-procedure consultation by the interventional radiologist. This allows us to obtain a gynaecologic and general medical history, to review the imaging findings and to discuss the procedure with the patient.

2. A MRI of the uterus is preferred. We prefer this be done at facilities familiar with fibroid imaging and reporting. The MRI helps the interventional radiologist to rule out fibroids unsuitable for embolisation. The MRI is also used as a baseline for follow-up evaluation at 6 month.

We believe in multidisciplinary approach to deliver the best care for your fibroid related problems, therefore we share the care with your GP and gynaecologist.

You need to see your own gynaecologist or we can recommend a gynaecologist who is familiar with UFE.

You GP and gynaecologist may perform some of the following assessment:

1. A pelvic examination within six months of the procedure.

2. A Pap smear within the last year and should be normal.

3. If you have abnormal uterine bleeding (such as bleeding in between periods, periods lasting longer than 10 days or more frequently than every 21 days), an endometrial (inner lining of the uterus) biopsy is needed, preferably within the preceding 3 to 6 months. This is to be certain that the bleeding is not due to abnormal growth.

4. If you have a history of pelvic infection, cultures for Gonorrhoea and Chlamydia need to be obtained.

Your gynaecologist and GP will also take part in your follow-up, as well as your on-going well women care.

On the day of your procedure, you need to avoid solid food from midnight. Clear fluid and medications are allowed up to the time of procedure. We will start an intravenous line to give you fluid, sedatives and pain relief medications. You must not be pregnant. A pregnancy test is needed if there is possibility of pregnancy and the procedure is done more than 10 days since the beginning of your last menstrual cycle.

We also need to place a catheter in your bladder, so that the bladder will remain empty during the procedure. Since the bladder is in front of the uterus, X-ray dye collected in the bladder will obscure our view.

After the procedure, you need to lie still for four hours to prevent bleeding in the groin. You will be given PCA (patient controlled analgesia) pump that allows yourself to administer the dose you need. You might experience varying degree of pain, nausea and fever. Medications are prescribed to control these symptoms. Please ask the nurses if you require them. You may eat and drink soon after the procedure. The bladder catheter and the IV drip are usually removed the next day.

We keep you in the hospital for 1-2 nights, mainly for pain control. After discharge, you may still experience some cramping pain, dull ache, fatigue, and possibly fever for few more days. Most symptoms subside within 4 to 5 days. You should anticipate returning to work and normal activities around 7 days after the procedure. Condoleezza Rice (former US Secretary of State) in 2004 had her UFE on a Friday afternoon and went back to work in the White House on Monday morning.

You will need to see the interventional radiologist to check your recovery at about 1 week after discharge from hospital. Since we have not removed your uterus, it is important to follow you up for up to two years. The follow-up schedule with the interventional radiologist consists of clinic visits at 3, 6, 12 and 24 months. All patients are required to have a 6-month MRI. For patients with large fibroids, ultrasound at 3, 12 and 24 months maybe required to monitor changes.

You will need to liaise with your GP and gynaecologist to tailor your follow-up schedule depending on your situation.

Resurgence of pelvic pain and fever, or development of foul smelling vaginal discharge might indicate sloughing of fibroid and infection. You may require urgent medical assessment. If any of these symptoms occur, please try to contact us immediately, or present to your GP or gynaecologist. If the symptoms are serious and urgent (e.g. after hours), you should present to emergency department for assessment and ask the emergency doctors to contact interventional radiologist or your gynaecologist for advice. Blood tests are usually required to check for serious infection. IV antibiotics need to be given promptly. Very rarely a minor procedure (D&C) is required to clear the fibroid slough. Hysterectomy is highly unlikely to be necessary.

UFE and Pregnancy: Dr Walker's Pregnancy Data on more than 105 pregnancies following UFE. Dr Walker's paper on the topic can also be found on the website.


Hysterectomy is the surgical operation to remove all or part of the uterus due to a number of reasons, including relieving the symptoms presented by benign tumours such as uterine fibroids

If you had cancer of the uterus, you may not have any choice but removing the uterus. However, overwhelming majority of hysterectomies in the developed countries such as USA and Australia are performed for benign conditions such as uterine fibroids. Since there are now many effective non-surgical means to treat fibroid symptoms, hysterectomy for benign conditions such as fibroids should be considered as a last resort, when all other less invasive methods in treating your symptoms have failed.

There are several types of hysterectomy depending on the reason for the hysterectomy.

Total hysterectomy and bilateral oophorectomy: the entire uterus including the cervix and both ovaries are removed.

Total hysterectomy without oophorectomy: the entire uterus and cervix are removed, but ovaries are left behind.

Subtotal hysterectomy: only the body of the uterus is removed, leaving behind the cervix.

There are many ways of removing the uterus depending on the surgeons' skill, experience and preference, and of course the reason for the hysterectomy.

Abdominal hysterectomy: through a 15 cm incision in the lower abdomen.

Vaginal hysterectomy: through a speculum in the vagina; cervix will have to be removed.

Laparoscopic hysterectomy: this is so-called key-hole surgery. Through three small cuts in the abdomen, the surgeon inserts a camera and other surgical instruments.

Laparoscopy assisted vaginal hysterectomy: combining laparoscopic technique with vaginal hysterectomy.

The recovery is quicker with laparoscopic surgery, but the surgical risk is NOT lower. Laparoscopic surgery is technically more demanding and there is a steep learning curve for the surgeons. Due to limited access and visualisation, it can be more risky in terms of injuries to blood vessels, bowel, bladder and ureter. Whether laparoscopic surgery is the right choice for you depend on the reason for your hysterectomy, your desire for quick recovery, as well as skill and the experience of the surgeon.

For more detailed information regarding hysterectomy please see the following links:

Hysterectomy: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. A detailed discussion with citations.

Hysterectomy: Better Health Channel. Easy to read patient information produced by State Government of Victoria.

How abdominal hysterectomy is carried out: An animation produced by BUPA health to show how abdominal hysterectomy is carried out.;feature=youtube_gdata_player

Mayo Clinic Research Finds Hysterectomy Health Risks

KIMT3 News Article and Video

ROCHESTER, Minn. - New research from Mayo Clinic could help women decide whether or not they want to undergo a hysterectomy. 

A hysterectomy is the removal of a uterus, and the second-most common surgery among women. 

Many studies show that when you also remove ovaries during a hysterectomy, it can cause long-term health risks like cardiovascular disease.

Researchers at Mayo Clinic wanted to see what would happen when women have hysterectomies without taking out their ovaries. They still found an increase in cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Shannon Laughlin-Tommaso, author of the study and an OB-GYN at Mayo Clinic, said they were able to study local women in Olmsted County as part of the Rochester Epidemiology Project (REP).

She said her team was able to follow the women for more than a decade, which made their research even more accurate.

"Most hysterectomies occur before menopause and cardiovascular disease doesn't really start to occur until years later," Laughlin-Tommaso said. "So the advantage of the REP was that we were able to follow these women for over 20 years on average and we really could see the accumulation of that disease where as if you only study them for less than 10 years, you may not see that."

Laughlin-Tommaso said she hopes the research will give women the support to ask questions and look for other alternatives to hysterectomies.

If you're seeking an alternative option to a hysterectomy, consult with a doctor before making any major decisions. Check out UFE as an alternative to hysterectomy.


Why should you consider alternatives to hysterectomy?

Hysterectomy is a major surgery that carries a risk of death of 5-38 per 100,000. Non-surgical means to treat fibroid symptoms are much safer. For example, UFE mortality is 1/100,000, which is 5-40 times safer than hysterectomy.

Besides risks of surgery, there are many other potential adverse effects of hysterectomy on your health.

Unless you have cancer of the uterus, hysterectomy is rarely needed to deal with your fibroid related symptoms.

There are many less invasive treatment options to deal with your fibroid related symptoms without resorting to hysterectomy.

Depending on your specific situation, uterine fibroid embolisation, endometrial ablation, hysteroscopic resection, progestogen releasing intrauterine device (IUD) or MR guided Focused Ultrasound may be suitable for you.

Please see separate section on Fibroid Treatment Options.

It has been known for a long time that hysterectomy patients took longer to recover compare with patients who had other major surgeries. Symptoms include urinary problems, tiredness and depression. Doctors were puzzled and labelled this Post Hysterectomy Syndrome. It was thought to be due to hormone imbalance after hysterectomy.

Hysterectomy is shown to be associated with earlier onset of menopause. Women who had hysterectomy enter menopause almost 4 years earlier compared to similar women who did not have hysterectomy. Blood supply to the ovary maybe in interrupted during surgery by ligation, spasms or thrombosis.

Early menopause is known to be associated with increased cardiovascular risk such as heart attacks and strokes, as well as osteoporosis.

Premature menopause can also increase risk of dementia.

Unfortunately hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is not a simple answer to premature menopause caused by hysterectomy. Instead of protective against cardiovascular disease, recent studies have shown that HRT may actually increase the risk of heart attacks. In addition, HRT increases the risk of breast cancer.

Urologists are familiar with women who complain bitterly of urinary symptoms related to a previous hysterectomy. "Everything was alright until I had my hysterectomy".

Hysterectomy weakens the pelvic floor and can cause stress urinary incontinence. Gynaecologists specialised in advanced pelvic floor surgery may advise against hysterectomy. We have had gynaecologists specialised in pelvic floor surgery referring patients for UFE to shrink the fibroid before pelvic floor surgery.

Patients who developed severe constipation after hysterectomy may have had their nerves damaged during surgery.

Studies regarding the effect on sex life after hysterectomy can be confusing. Essentially it depends on whether the fibroids were affecting sex life in the first place.

For those women whose sex life was ruined by fibroid related symptoms, they might find hysterectomy actually improves sex life.

For those women whose sex life were not affected by fibroids, they need to be aware that studies have demonstrated decreased libido and orgasm after hysterectomy, especially total hysterectomy.

Nerve damage during surgery may be a cause. Surgery may change the anatomy of the top of the vagina, resulting in altered sensation for women and her partner. For some women, uterine contraction is essential for orgasm. This could be lost after hysterectomy.

1. Chlebowski RT, Kuller LH, Prentice RL, et al. Breast cancer after use of estrogen plus progestin in postmenopausal women. New England Journal of Medicine. 2009;360(6):573–587.

2. Farquhar CM, Sadler L, Harvey SA, Stewart AW. The association of hysterectomy and menopause: a prospective cohort study. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology. 2005;112(7):956–962.

3. Kilkku P, Grönroos M, Hirvonen T, Rauramo L. Supra Vaginal Uterine Amputation VS. Hysterectomy: Effects on libido and orgasm. Acta obstetricia et gynecologica scandinavica. 1983;62(2):147–152.

4. Manson JAE, Hsia J, Johnson KC, et al. Estrogen plus progestin and the risk of coronary heart disease. New England Journal of Medicine. 2003;349(6):523–534.

5. Richards D. A post-hysterectomy syndrome. The Lancet. 1974;304(7887):983–985.

6. Rocco W, Bower J, Maraganore D, others. Increased risk of cognitive impairment or dementia in women who underwent oophorectomy before menopause. Neurology. 2007;69(11):1074–1083.

7. Smith A, Varma J, Binnie N, Papachrysostomou M. Disordered colorectal motility in intractable constipation following hysterectomy. British journal of surgery. 1990;77(12):1361–1365.

For more detailed information regarding alternatives to hysterectomy please see the following links:

Hysterectomy Alternatives and After-effects by Hers Foundation: Hysterectomy Educational Resources and Services. HERS is the independent, international organization dedicated to the issue of hysterectomy. HERS advocates for fully informed medical decisions by women.



I found the embolisation technique to be quick with some sensation during the procedure, like mild period pain, and afterwards the pain just felt like period pain. I actually found the that pain-relief drugs upset me more by making me really nauseous so I was taken off the drip and found that the pain wasn't any worse. I was able to go home after a two night stay and move around without too much effort. I was off work from 27th April to 6th May but mostly as precaution rather than due to pain. I had some mild spotting but not too much pain only taking Panadol for the first few days. I didn't take the pain relief tablets prescribed to me at the hospital as I didn't need them.

My first period was 5 weeks after the surgery and I already noticed that it wasn't as heavy as before and my cycle returned to the 28 days immediately. I had a few days of light spotting at the end of each period lasting 3-4 days but was only for the first few periods. By the 2nd and 3rd period that change was dramatic and I didn't have the very heavy days.

Before I had to go to the toilet every hour to change so I didn't have the stress of worrying about long trips, I spend an 1.5 hours door to door each trip getting to and from work meaning that I would have to double-up on protection, and I didn't feel as though I couldn't go anywhere because of the inconvenience.

I used to avoid going out so I turned down invitations. I also had to make excuses to my manager to work in a location closer to home because the travel time made things difficult (not easy when your manager is male!). I was also really worried about soiling clothing so wore a lot of black and had to be careful about what I wore.

I had a further blood test in June and I was cleared of any anemia as my blood counts had returned to normal. My iron had dropped a bit but my GP wasn't worried as he said that my body was using the iron to create red blood cells rather than me losing it every month.

Things have returned to normal and I'm going out without problems and not carrying around or wearing extra protection. My husband has also noticed the difference as he was affected with what he could and couldn't do and he'd have to make excuses for me for not going out.

The technique hasn't left me with any side effects or scarring or pain and it's so simple and easy. To think that I may have been referred for a hysterectomy if I had another GP is pretty frightening.

If you need anything else from me or want to use this information for other doctors please go ahead. My husband will send you an email sometime with his thoughts.

Thanks again for making life a whole lot easier!

My wife had your procedure to reduce her fibroids, which were sapping her of a lot of red blood cells. She was very ill for a long while until she was referred to you by way of Dr Jeremy Tham to Dr Beven Brown.My first impression was how easy it all unfolded, from her first consultation to post surgery.

My wife is a very active person who will see everything there is to see and be involved in a host of different activities. She was hamstrung by her Fibroid problem that needed her constant attention to work her very day life.

Her embolisation has maintained her new found high red blood count to a very healthy and safe level, which has made her much happier and healthier. The main difference is that she can go about her normal life with out the worry of Fibroids sapping her of all her energy and avoiding places and events because she was feeling flat or exhausted.

She is back to full strength and loving life, I highly recommend your work and feel that more or all women suffering with Fibroids must take this action before going down the road to removal of their Uterus.

The procedure was easy on her body and the results are astronomical, so thank you for your work and care and I hope you will help a lot more women with their health.

Please let me know if there is anything else I can do as I have quite often thought of ways to help other women who are in the same situation.I am so happy to help raise awareness in order to help someone else out there!

You are the reason for my sweet little boy and I can never thank you enough!!!

About 10 years ago I started seeing several doctors, as I knew there was something wrong with my body, just not sure what it was. My symptoms were severe iron deficiency, unexplainable weight gain, mood swings and in general very lethargic.

As the years passed all would tell me I simply needed to change my diet and one even gave me a course of 6 iron injections to fix the problem.It wasn't until I was so tired of having the same problems that I went to see a few specialists and years later one finally diagnosed me with having an unusually large fibroid in my uterus.

I was referred to one of the best gynecologists to see what my options were and after a long journey to this point, I was told my only option was a hysterectomy and that I would never have any children.

My husband and I were devastated and very emotional that day in the doctor's office at the thought of never having the option of having a child and the doctor was quick to get me to sign the hospital paperwork to have the procedure done as soon as possible.

I decided to check one last doctor whom my sister and friend had to deliver their children and was told I did have another option of Fibroid Embolisation.

Basically after more consultations I elected to have the Embolisation done and keep my uterus in tact.

Now 4 years later have better health and a very healthy and happy 10-month-old little boy who is the best thing that has happened to my husband and I.

I am so grateful for a second chance and the option to be a mother.

About Us

Our Mission

To raise awareness about UFE (uterine artery embolisation) as a minimally invasive procedure to treat uterine fibroids.
To empower women to choose the most suitable treatment for themselves.
To provide women’s health GPs and gynaecologists with updated information on fibroid treatment options.

Dr Eisen Liang, Interventional Radiologist (Uterine Embolisation).

This website was developed by Dr Eisen Liang who is a dedicated healthcare professional passionate about applying minimally invasive treatments to improve the quality of life of women.

Dr Eisen Liang is an interventional radiologist with special interest in gynaecological intervention such as Uterine Fibroid Embolisation (UFE), adenomyosis embolisation and ovarian vein embolisation for pelvic congestion syndrome. He performed his first UFE in 1998 and has been performing UFE at Sydney Adventist Hospital since 2007.

He presented the result of first series of UFE on Australian women at the 2011 Annual Scientific Meeting of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. The paper has been published in April 2012 Australian and New Zealand Journal of O & G. His paper on effectiveness of embolisation treating adenomyosis was presented in Vancouver in 2016 and pending publication in 2017.

Dr Liang graduated with First Class Honours from UNSW in 1988. After his internship and residency at Westmead Hospital, he started his radiology training in Hong Kong in 1990. He was appointed lecturer in radiology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in the Prince of Wales Hospital in 1994. He was awarded the fellowship of the Royal College of Radiologists (London) in 1995 and the fellowship of the Royal Australian New Zealand College of Radiologists in 1997.

Dr Liang has been an interventional radiologist at Sydney Adventist Hospital since 2004. He is a Senior Clinical Lecturer for University of Sydney Medical School.

In 2013, Dr Eisen Liang (Interventional Radiologist) and Dr Bevan Brown (Obstetrician Gynaecologist) established the first Sydney Fibroid Clinic at Castle Hill. With cross-specialty collaboration, the clinic aims to offer the best and the least invasive treatment options, tailored to the needs and wishes of each individual women. A similar clinic is now run at San Clinic Sydney Adventist Hospital. Dr Liang seeks to collaborate with women’s health GPS and gynaecologists to provide the best cross-specialty care to women with fibroid disease.

Dr Liang consults at Bella Vista, Wahroonga and Chatswood. He performs procedures at Sydney Adventist Hospital, Norwest Private Hospital and Mater Hospital North Sydney.

Contact Us

Phone: 02 9473 8728
Fax: 9473 8721

If you wish to claim Medicare rebate for your consultation, a referral letter is required from your GP or gynaecologist.
Email (for general enquiries, but not for urgent matters):

Dr Eisen Liang consults at:


Suite 407 San Clinic,
Sydney Adventist Hospital
185 Fox Valley Road, Wahroonga NSW 2076


Norwest Private Hospital Medical Centre
Suite 107 / 9 Norbrik Drive


Suite 5, Westmead Private Hospital
Cnr Mons and Darcy Roads
Westmead NSW 2145


Clinic 66
31 Bertram Street
Chatswood NSW 2076