Ultrasound Treatment For Fibroids

Uterine fibroids, which are also known as myoma, leiomyoma, leiomyomata, and fibromyoma, are non-cancerous tumors that are found growing within the muscle tissue of the uterus. It is estimated that between 20 to 50 percent of women of childbearing age experience uterine fibroids. Even though some women do not suffer with symptoms, many do have symptoms severe enough to require treatment of some type.

Hormone Treatment And Surgery Were The Options

In the past fibroids were treated with hormone therapy, especially progesterone, which has the ability to shrink the tumors quickly. However, the side effects of hormone therapy include menopausal symptoms and osteoporosis. As a result, it can only be used for short periods and the tumors return when the treatment stops.

Alternatively, past treatment included surgery. A hysterectomy, which meant the removal of the uterus with or without the removal of the ovaries or a myomectomy were the options. The myomectomy is the removal of only the fibroid, leaving the uterus intact, thus preserving the potential for pregnancy. This surgery is generally only successful with small fibroids and if the tumors are large, then a hysterectomy is usually performed. Also, the myomectomy offers only temporary relief because untreated fibroids continue to grow.

And Then Came Artery Embolization

Uterine artery embolization, a procedure used to block the blood vessels from inside the uterus, has proven to be quite successful in treatment of uterine fibroids. A catheter is inserted into the groin or into the left arm and pellets that ultimately block the flow of blood to all of the small arteries, including those that feed the fibroids, is injected into the catheter. The blockage starves the fibroid which then dies and is ultimately flushed from the body through natural elimination processes. The body naturally restores circulation to the normal cells.

Something New And Non-Invasive

A new type of surgery has come on the scene to treat fibroids called MR guided Focused Ultrasound Surgery. This is a non-invasive, out-patient procedure that destroys fibroids without affecting any of the surrounding tissues. It uses high doses of focused ultrasound waves (HIFU) and is conducted in a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner. By using an MRI, the physician can view clearly the area under scrutiny and can pinpoint, guide, and monitor the treatment continuously.

The MRI is an advanced diagnostic technology that uses 3D imagining of internal organs without the use of radiation. It eliminates the need for an incision in order to see where the fibroids are located and what needs to be treated. It also provides real time temperature changes to indicate when the fibroid tissue is destroyed.

First, the doctor locates and identifies the fibroids on MR images of the pelvic region. Then high energy focused ultrasound waves heat a small part of the fibroid to a temperature of up of 85 degrees Celsius, using pulses in 15 second increments until the entire fibroid has been ablated, or destroyed. All the while, the doctor is able to monitor and review the progress. The entire procedure can take up to three hours, depending upon the size and number of fibroids.

This method of treatment is not for everyone. However, if treatment without surgery to preserve the uterus is the preference, then the doctor will do the necessary testing and screening to determine eligibility.

Login to comment

Post a comment