Preparing For Your Appointment

You are getting ready to schedule an appointment for a consult with an interventional radiologist to talk about UFE (Uterine Fibroid Embolization). Keep in mind the purpose of the initial consultation is to determine if you are an appropriate candidate for the procedure. Then the goal is to answer any questions you have.

As you already know, UFE is a safe and effective minimally invasive treatment option for non-cancerous tumors of the uterus, called uterine fibroids. But not all women are good candidates for UFE. The only way to know if this treatment option is right for you is to discuss it with an interventional radiologist. (This is the type of doctor who specializes in providing minimally invasive treatment options, such as UFE.)

Once you’ve made your appointment, you will want to gather the appropriate information to be well-prepared for the consultation. In order to make the most of your time with the doctor, some people like to write out a list of questions to ask. Planning this out in advance can alleviate some of the stress you may feel about your initial visit. Another way to help reduce any appointment stress is to understand ahead of time what typically occurs during a consultation.

1 – Try to arrive to your appointment 10 to 15 minutes early. (In non-COVID times) This allows you time to complete 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.  They will then make sure your medical chart is accurate, review any allergies and medications you are currently taking and make sure you are comfortable as you wait for the doctor. The next step will be to see the interventional radiologist.

During COVID many initial consultations have been moved to Telehealth (virtual) appointments. The same applies in regards to having your questions ready in advance. However, the forms will likely need to be completed and submitted in advance of your appointment. Then, the first part of your appointment will be spent reviewing these documents and your medical records for accuracy. This includes making sure any imaging has been forwarded on to the doctor ahead of your appointment for review prior to, or with you, during your virtual visit. Usually the review of any advance documentation is done by a medical assistant or a nurse, before the actual consultation begins. And, please keep in mind that this review could also happen before the day of your appointment.

2 – 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:

  • Go over your past medical history briefly

  • 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

If your exam is in-person, you may also 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.

3 – 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 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 will have time to ask questions.  Remember that list you wrote up ahead of time and brought with you? Do not be shy — most doctors are used to seeing a list. If anything, this list ensures them that you are appropriately informed about all aspects of the procedure.

Be sure to bring to your appointment (or have ready for your telemedicine visit and have forwarded in advance of your appointment as requested):

  1. Your insurance card

  2. Identification with your photo on it, such as a driver’s license

  3. The name and address of any other physicians you want the consultation report to be sent to

  4. CDs of any ultrasound, CT scan, or MRIs that have been performed

  5. A list of your medications and medical history

  6. Your list of questions about UFE

  7. Any paperwork, already filled out, that you may have received before the day of the appointment

Being prepared is key to having an effective consultation. If you bring all of the information about your fibroids, including the imaging studies, you will be providing the interventional radiologist with, ideally, all of the information needed to make a decision about whether UFE is the right treatment for you.

The first step? Book your consultation to talk to a fibroid specialist!

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