5 Benefits of outpatient fibroid treatment

Minimally invasive

Fibroids can be removed through a form of minimally invasive, laparoscopic outpatient surgery that uses radiofrequency ablation. Laparoscopic surgery is often called “band aid surgery” because it consists of only two tiny incisions. This fibroid treatment destroys fibroids using a small needle through a technology known as radio frequency ablation. The surrounding tissue is unaffected while the destroyed tissue is reabsorbed. This minimally invasive procedure is performed under general anesthesia. This specific fibroid treatment targets only the fibroids, preserving the uterus.

Allows for rapid recovery

Once they have recovered from the anesthesia, patients typically go home on the same day as their surgery. They typically take mild anti-inflammatories after the procedure and can return to work within three to five days.

Has a low rate of recurrence

By treating all of the fibroids, there is little chance that the symptoms will recur again. Once the fibroid is eliminated, it is not likely that it will grow back. In fact, there have been a very low number of patients that have required further treatment following this procedure.

Alternative to a hysterectomy

Physicians often recommend that women with fibroids get hysterectomies, which is a complete removal of the uterus. But hysterectomies aren’t always necessary. Hysterectomies remove the uterus and often lead to complications, which include increased pain and long recovery times. Outpatient surgery removes the individual fibroids without having to remove the uterus.

Undergoing surgery can be a frightening experience. To prepare one’s body for outpatient surgery, it’s a good idea to stop smoking and/or drinking, exercise regularly and eat a well-balanced diet. Whichever method a woman chooses to treat fibroids, it should be one that is safe, effective and improves the quality of life.

Sources

  1. http://www.healthywomen.org/condition/preparing-surgery
  2. http://www.ucsfhealth.org/conditions/fibroids/treatment.html
  3. http://obgyn.med.miami.edu/migs/fibroid-clinic/treatment-options
  4. http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/1-surgery-women-dont-need-hysterectomy
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Fibroids and Hysterectomies | Alternatives to a Hysterectomy

Fibroids-of-the-Uterus-and-Hysterectomies--What-You-Need-to-Know_blog-pic_LI-00-0242-AFibroids of the Uterus and Hysterectomies: What You Need to Know

Doctors don’t fully understand why many women develop a condition called uterine fibroids, where tumors develop within the uterus. What is known though is that the tumors are benign and unlikely to develop into cancer at a later time. Also, when discussing symptoms of fibroids, areas of the uterus may be examined as well, because a range of symptoms can occur depending on how close the tumors are to nearby organs.

If you’ve been diagnosed with the disorder, one of the first questions on your mind is likely whether it’s necessary to pursue treatment now or if you can wait until a later time. If problematic symptoms are not currently making your life miserable, you may be advised to simply see if the condition worsens. However, if the doctor advises you that an intervention is necessary as soon as possible, don’t be surprised if they recommend a hysterectomy, otherwise known as a complete removal of the uterus.

Risks of Hysterectomies

Although hysterectomies are widely recommended, they come with several risks including:
• Fatigue
• Personality/Mood Change
• Infertility
• Increased cancer risk
• Bone density issues
• Excessive bleeding
• Fatal blood clots
• Urinary incontinence
• Premature menopause
• Pain during intercourse
• Bowel problems
• A decreased desire to engage in sex

In addition to the risks of a hysterectomy, recovery time may be as long as six weeks and patients are often required to stay overnight in the hospital. And the incisions from a hysterectomy can be large and unsightly. Understandably, reading those side effects and realizing that a hysterectomy is a very drastic procedure could be enough to make you wonder if there’s a better way to get the treatment you need. Fortunately, there are other solutions and if you’re committed to being as informed as possible about your health, it’s a good idea to pursue them and get information to help you make a smart decision about your future. One innovative alternative is called the Acessa Procedure and you can read about it below.

The Acessa Procedure as a Worthwhile Alternative

The Acessa Procedure is a minimally invasive alternative to hysterectomies. Because it only targets the fibroids, areas of the uterus that are not affected remain intact and unharmed. The technology uses a process called radio frequency thermal ablation delivered through a hand piece to manage existing tumors. Patients can generally go home the same day as the procedure and return to work four to five days later. The Acessa Procedure is performed laparoscopically, which greatly reduces scarring. And, the chance of having recurring issues is very small.

Although there’s not a single treatment approach that works for every woman, it’s necessary to understand that hysterectomies are no longer the only option to pursue for someone who’s been diagnosed with uterine fibroids. If you’re facing that issue, check out alternatives such as the Acessa Procedure to see if it might better meet your requirements by helping you stay healthy without resorting to procedures that are very invasive, such as hysterectomies.

Looking For More Information On Treating Uterine Fibroids?

Call Acessa Health at 877.412.3828.

Know Your Options

If you feel you may have the symptoms or have been diagnosed with uterine fibroid tumors, it is a good idea to discuss all of the available treatments for fibroids.

Click on the Physician Finder to find an Acessa-trained physician near you to see if the Acessa procedure is right for you. Or for more information, please contact Acessa Health at 877.412.3828.
Sources

  1. http://www.news-medical.net/health/Hysterectomy-Risks.aspx
  2. http://www.haltmedical.com/
  3. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/uterine-fibroids/DS00078
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How To Treat Fibroids

How-to-treat-fibroids-blog-imageData shows that more than 70% of women1 have uterine fibroids sometime during their lives, but most are unaware of them because they often cause no symptoms. In these cases fibroids usually don’t need to be treated at all. However, in some cases there are symptoms that can disrupt every day lives making it virtually impossible to accomplish the simplest of tasks. For example, heavy bleeding, pelvic discomfort, urinary complications, lower back pain, or pain during sex are some of the common fibroid symptoms. If you are in the group that suffers from these complications, you will discover that there are a variety of treatment options available.

Medications

Medications are commonly the first line of therapy when treating fibroids. However, drug therapy will not eliminate the uterine fibroids. They work by lowering estrogen and placing the woman in a state similar to menopause. The lowered estrogen may shrink the fibroids and relieve symptoms temporarily. The most common and effective types of drugs for this treatment are gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogue (GnRH-a) therapy2. However, once the treatment is stopped, the fibroids regrow, and the woman’s symptoms return. These medications can’t be used indefinitely, since long-term use can significantly decrease bone density and increase the risk of osteoporosis. Other methods of treatment, such as using contraceptive pills, have been shown to control excessive menstrual bleeding, but do not affect the size of the fibroid.

Surgical Treatments

Ultrasound Guided Radiofrequency Thermal Ablation

A new minimally invasive treatment using the Acessa System utilizes radiofrequency (RF) thermal ablation in the tretment of uterine fibroids. This type of treatment can be done on an outpatient basis. The physician uses ultrasound during the procedure to identify all of the patient’s fibroids. It allows the patient to keep her uterus, it has a low rate of recurrence of fibroids, and the patients recover quickly in a matter of a few days.

Hysterectomy

The most common type of surgery to remove uterine fibroids is a hysterectomy. In the United States, over 200,000 women a year get this treatment because of fibroids1, making it the most common reason for hysterectomies. This procedure involves completely removing the uterus, thus making it impossible for the fibroids to grow back. However, it also eliminates a woman’s chance of getting pregnant again and can lead to many other problems for the patient later in life. This may not pose an issue for women who are in their postmenopausal years. The recovery time for a hysterectomy is usually 4-6 weeks.

Myomectomy

For women who are in their child-bearing years, and still want this as an option, may consider having a myomectomy. This involves the surgical removal of the individual fibroids, rather than the whole uterus. It allows the uterus to be left in place and, for some women, makespregnancymore likely than before. After myomectomy, your chances of pregnancy may be improved but are not guaranteed. However, it often only treats some of the fibroids, so women who have the procedure have a high rate of recurrence of fibroid symptoms. The recovery time for a myomectomy is usually 2-4 weeks3.

Uterine Artery Embolization

Uterine artery embolization, or UAE, is a procedure done by aradiologist. It blocks bloodflow tofibroidsin the uterus. For women who are not planning apregnancyin the future, UAE is a possible option in place of surgery forfibroids. It can be done on an outpatient basis, but usually requires overnight stay to control pain. It has a high recurrence rate of fibroid symptoms.

Learn About Your Options

It may be common for women to get fibroids, and in most cases, be able to go on with their everyday lives without treatment being necessary. For those who do suffer from the more severe symptoms caused by uterine fibroids, it’s important to be educated about the treatment options available.

If you feel you may have the symptoms or have been diagnosed with uterine fibroid tumors, it is a good idea to discuss all of the available treatments for fibroids, including alternatives to hysterectomy. For more information, or to locate a doctor near you, please contact Acessa Health at 877.412.3828.

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What to Expect After a Hysterectomy

LI-00-0191Hysterectomy is the removal of the uterus and is one of the most commonly performed gynecological surgical procedures. In the United States alone, almost 600,000 hysterectomies are performed every year. One of the major causes for hysterectomy is the presence of uterine fibroids.[1]

Uterine Fibroids Treatment – Hysterectomy

Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous growths of the uterus that can occur in the uterine cavity, within the muscle wall, or on the outer surface of the uterus. Symptoms often include[2]:

  • Abnormal uterine bleeding, including longer periods or bleeding between periods.
  • Severe pelvic pain, including pain during sexual intercourse.
  • Lower back or leg pain.
  • Problems with urination.

Hysterectomy is the only fibroid treatment that prevents recurrence, and may provide improved quality of life for many women. What to expect after a hysterectomy greatly depends upon the woman’s clinical circumstances and the type of hysterectomy chosen.

What to Expect after a Hysterectomy

Every patient’s experience may be different, but there are some general expectations following hysterectomy[3]:

  • The recovery depends largely on the type of hysterectomy patient had. Generally, open abdominal hysterectomy results in the longest recovery times. Vaginal and laparoscopic approaches to the procedures tend to require less recovery time and may be comparatively less painful.
  • Regardless of the type of hysterectomy the patient undergoes, she may require a course of pain medication and antibiotics to prevent post-surgical infections.
  • Patients may not be able to lift anything heavy or have sexual intercourse for as long as six weeks.
  • Hysterectomy can also have long-term co-morbidities such as incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse.

Treating Hysterectomy Side Effects

If a patient has a total hysterectomy and her ovaries are removed, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can effectively reduce hormone-induced symptoms after the surgery. However, the woman’s age and medical history are all key factors to consider before any decision about HRT is made. HRT is absolutely contraindicated in patients with breast cancer.3

Looking For More Information On Treating Uterine Fibroids?

Call Acessa Health at 877.412.3828.


[1] US Markets for Gynecological Devices 2011. Millennium Research Group, Inc. 2010.

[2] Buttram VC Jr, Reiter RC. Uterine leiomyomata: etiology, symptomatology, and management. Fertil Steril. 1981; 36(4):433-445.

[3] WebMD LLC, http://women.webmd.com/hysterectomy-oophorectomy-directory, 2005 – 2013, May 16, 2013.

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Fibroid Treatment

Fibroid-Treatment_LI-00-0158-AUterine fibroid tumors may affect up to 30% of women in their childbearing years, with the risk increasing with age. Formed in a woman’s uterus, uterine fibroids may not always come with symptoms, but when symptoms are present, and especially when they are severe, fibroid treatment is important to ensure the woman’s comfort. There are a variety of options for fibroid treatment, including both medical and surgical treatments.

Gonadotropin-releasing Hormone Agonists

This method uses hormone-releasing drugs in the form of an oral treatment or IUD to help treat pain and bleeding and shrink the fibroid size, generally before surgery is performed.

Advantages:

  • Non-invasive method
  • Can be used before surgery to make surgery easier, lessen the recovery time needed and minimize loss of blood.

Disadvantages:

  • Expensive method to use for long-term fibroid treatment.
  • Side effects can include loss of bone density and osteoporosis as well as symptoms of menopause.
  • Fertility is preserved with this method.

Short term elimination of symptoms:

  • Up to 90% pain relief (Source)

Long term recurrence:

  • The long-term recurrence for this fibroid treatment is high, as fibroids often return to their previous state once the patient stops taking the medication. The long term recurrence depends on the surgical procedure used after treatment

Uterine Sparing

  • Yes.

Radiofrequency Volumetric Thermal Ablation – Acessa™ System

The Acessa System is an outpatient, minimally invasive surgical procedure that uses ultrasound guidance to allow the surgeon to identify all of the fibroids present in the patient’s abdomen. The surgeon then inserts the Acessa handpiece into each fibroid to ablate the fibroid from within.

Advantages

  • Treats all the fibroids while sparing the uterus
  • Minimally invasive in an outpatient setting
  • Fast recovery – patients go home the same day and return to work within 2-3 days.
  • Low recurrence rate
  • Treats fibroids in virtually all locations of the uterus
  • Lower cost than open surgery

Disadvantages

  • Risks associated with laparoscopic surgery

Short Term Elimination of Symptoms

  • Bleeding stops right away
  • Other symptoms resolve as the body absorbs the fibroid tissue

Long term Recurrence

  • Less than 5%

Uterine Sparing

  • Yes.

Hysterectomy

The hysterectomy method of fibroid treatment consists of removing the uterus through surgery. It can be done “open” where an incision is made in the abdominal wall and the uterus is taken out through that incision. It can also be performed through the vagina, in a more minimally invasive procedure. Finally, laparoscopic hysterectomy is a popular and growing approach to hysterectomy. This is a minimally invasive procedure where the uterus is removed through the abdominal wall or vagina.

Advantages:

  • There is no risk of recurrence.
  • Lower blood loss and greater patient satisfaction with minimally invasive method.

Disadvantages:

  • Being major surgery, there are some risks involved such as bleeding, fever and risk of damage to surrounding organs.
  • Recovery from an “open” hysterectomy is 6-8 weeks.

Short term elimination of symptoms:

  • Because the uterus is removed, symptoms are eliminated

Long term recurrence:

  • With the uterus gone, fibroids cannot recur.

Uterine Sparing

  • No.

Uterine Artery Embolization

With this method of fibroid treatment, a radiologist targets the area around the uterus with tiny particles to cut off blood supply to the uterus arteries and shrink the fibroid.

Advantages:

  • Minimally invasive
  • Surgery is not necessary with this method
  • Hospital stay can be as short as 24-36 hours.

Disadvantages:

  • Higher risk of recurrence and pain after the procedure.

Short term elimination of symptoms:

  • Approximately 90%

Long term recurrence:

  • Approximately 30-50% of patients show recurrence of symptoms within 3years

Uterine Sparing

  • Yes.

Myomectomy

A myomectomy is the removal of the fibroid from the uterus surgically. It can be done either “open” or using a minimally invasive method.

Advantages:

  • Resolution of symptoms initially
  • This fibroid treatment allows the preservation of the woman’s fertility

Disadvantages:

  • Higher rate of recurrence
  • This method can be complicated by how many fibroids are present and what state they are in.

Short term elimination of symptoms:

  • Up to 80% of patients are relieved of symptoms (Source)

Long term recurrence:

  • A myomectomy may allow for higher recurrence rates than other treatments, up to 45% after two years, according to some studies (Source)

Uterine Sparing

  • Yes.

With a variety of different options for fibroid treatment available, women should consider their options carefully and discuss with their doctor what method will work best for them.

Patient Information

To learn about physicians near you who use the Acessa system, please call us at 877-412-3828.

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When Is Treatment for Fibroids Necessary?

Uterine-Fibroid-Treatment-Image (1)Uterine fibroids are benign growths in the uterus that generally occur in 20% of women over 30 years of age, and are usually completely harmless.  Fibroids growing prior to that age are rare, and almost never occur in women who are not yet at menstruating age.

Symptoms of Uterine Fibroids

The most common symptom in women with fibroids is a heavy menstrual period.  Most women do not experience more than that, and usually it is not enough to warrant treatment, unless there is extremely heavy bleeding.  Heavy bleeding is not, in itself, an indication of fibroids, so a woman must get a routine pelvic examination from her doctor to determine if fibroids are present.  

Other symptoms of fibroids may include pressure or pain in the lower abdominal region, abdominal and uterine enlargement, anemia if bleeding is excessive, susceptibility to urinary tract infections (if a fibroid presses against the bladder), constipation (if a fibroid presses against the rectum), and pain during sexual intercourse.

When is Treatment Necessary?

As they are non-cancerous, most fibroids will not need to be treated at all in a woman’s lifetime. However, there are occasions where a fibroid can grow in a certain area, or to a large enough size, where it can cause discomfort, and she may need to seek treatment. The decision to treat a fibroid depends on the age of the woman, size of the fibroids, and severity of symptoms. 

If any of the symptoms are severe enough to interrupt daily life during or between menstrual periods, a woman’s doctor may decide on a course of treatment based on the symptoms she is experiencing, as well as factors involving age andpotential future childbirth.

Treatment Options

Contraceptives – medications, usually taken orally, that work to reduce the amount ofbleeding and regulate the woman’s cycle. Contraceptives do not shrink or reduce the fibroids in any way.Intrauterinedevices (IUDs) may also be used for the same purposes, andare easily applied during routine office visits.

GnRH Agonists – another classification of medications a doctor may prescribe that is a bolder approach, but it is only recommended for specific types of cases, and should be a precursor to surgery.They block the production of estrogen in order to temporarily reduce the fibroids’sizeand reduce symptoms long enough to make surgery safe.These include Lupron.

If treatment by medication is not sufficient in reducing the symptoms of fibroids, orthe symptoms meet the requirements, other treatment options include various surgeries.

Myomectomy -a surgical process that removes only the fibroids fromthe uterus. This is done in a variety of ways, including “open” surgery (laparotomy), or less invasive ones. Myomectomies are not always a permanent solution for fibroids, as fibroids may grow back over time.

Uterine Artery Embolization – uterine artery embolizationcuts off the blood flow to the fibroids themselves,which causes them to shrink. It is minimally invasive,but includesan overnightstay at the hospital andsome recovery time from associated pain.

Endometrial Ablation – a procedure that destroys the lining of the uterus. It may, or may not, be effective in treating women with fibroids. Additionally, this procedure is not recommended for those who want children.

Hysterectomy – incertain cases, one of many types of hysterectomies may be used as a permanent solution to fibroids. The woman and doctor must discuss hysterectomy options in depth in order to determine the best course of action, as hysterectomies are not reversible, and will prevent the woman from ever becoming pregnant.

Laparoscopic Radiofrequency Volumetric Thermal Ablation – The newly cleared Acessa System from Acessa Health provides a new method of treatment for uterine fibroids that uses a minimally invasive procedure that preserves the uterus but significantly reduces or eliminates the recurrence of fibroids.

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Treatment Options for Uterine Fibroids

<pFibroid-Treatment-Options>Uterine fibroids are extremely variable from woman to woman. In some women they cause pain and heavy bleeding, others are asymptomatic. They can develop on the inside or outside of the uterus. Fibroids sometime interfere with pregnancy, grow slowly and are not cancerous. For some women, the best plan is to simply “watchful waiting”. If they do cause you pain and excessive menstrual bleeding you may want to consider one of these treatment options for uterine fibroids:

Drug regimen

With this method the medications target hormones that control your ovulation cycle, such as estrogen and progesterone. The drugs can alleviate pain in the pelvis and heavy blood flow during your period. However they will not make the fibroids go away, only make them smaller. A few of the medications that are available are birth control pills, androgens and intrauterine devices (IUD).

Hysterectomy

This is a major abdominal surgery. The entire uterus is removed from the body, thus ending the patient’s bout with fibroids and their complications. With a hysterectomy there may be the option to leave the ovaries in place. If the ovaries need to be removed you may need to be put on hormone replacement therapy in the future. There are potential risks and complications to hysterectomy, and frequently women will encounter these many years after the procedure.

Myomectomy

Myomectomies are surgical procedures. If you choose one ofthose treatmentoptions for uterine fibroids the growths will be fly removed from your uterus. The benefit of a myomectomy is that the uterus is left in place. A down fall is that some women may re-grow fibroids after the myomectomy.

With the myomectomy there are variations available for the different sizes and locations of growths. For large or deep fibroids your provider may choose to do an abdominal myomectomy, which is an open abdominal surgery. Laparoscopic myomectomies are used for several small fibroids. With the laparoscopic procedure a small incision is made in the abdomen and a slender tool is inserted into the body. The physician will conduct hysteroscopy, the surgery is completed by inserting a small scope through the vagina and cervix. This method also utilizes a small camera.

Endometrial ablation

With this option, energy is used to destroy the lining of the uterus. When the lining is destroyed it either ends or reduces menstruation. If you are not planning to have more children, this may be a treatment option. However, there is no guarantee that endometrial ablation will treat fibroids. Additionally, many fibroids are located where this treatment option will not be effective. .

Make sure to consider all of your treatment options for uterinefibroids. Do not be afraid to bring up possible solutions to explore with your doctor. There are many ways to address the issue and there is sure to be one that will help you live a life without pain or excessive bleeding.

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Who Should I Talk To About Treating Fibroids?

Who-Should-I-Talk-To-About-Treating-FibroidsFibroids offer an unusually high amount of treatment options in comparison to some diseases, thus making the question “Who should I talk to about treating fibroids?” more complicated than questions about certain other health issues.

Discussion With Physician

If fibroids have already been detected, the doctor who first found them may have immediately performed further examination or scheduled a lab appointment. As treatment options may vary depending on the number and size of the fibroids, an examination should be scheduled if it has not already been performed, with a particular emphasis on determining if the fibroids are cancerous or not. Once this has been performed, the best option in most cases is to talk to a physician who has experience with fibroids to discuss the various treatment options. Fibroids are common enough that most physicians will have at least some personal familiarity or know where to send referrals.

 

Treatment Options

Once the immediate question of “Who should I talk to about treating fibroids?” has been answered, there are a number of questions that can be asked. Multiple treatment options exist, though asking for the physician’s recommendation is often a good place to begin. However, it is important to remember that the treatment options range from major effects on the body to treatments as minor as merely treating the symptoms. Regardless of what the physician recommends, asking about the treatment’s effects can help a patient determine whether they feel that particular treatment is more invasive than they are comfortable with. As fibroids are almost always non-cancerous growths, a major procedure may not be necessary.

The mildest treatment is to simply observe, as fibroids will generally disappear during menopause due to hormone changes in the body. A Myomectomy will remove the fibroids while leaving the uterus intact, though this is more effective for a smaller number of larger growths than for many smaller fibroids. A Uterine Fibroid Embolization may also be an option; this procedure will effectively starve the fibroids of nutrients and kill them off, with an average recovery time of one week or less. Similar procedures work with techniques such as ultrasound or electricity; not all procedures may be available in all areas. The most extreme technique is a hysterectomy, where the entire uterus is removed. As a major surgical procedure that will have significant effects on the body, this is rarely the best option, but it may be recommended in the small percent of cases where fibroids are cancerous. It may also be a choice where future fertility is not necessary, and is the only technique that will guarantee the avoidance of future problems.

Each procedure offers various benefits and limitations, such as the length of stay in the hospital, post-operative treatment, and amount of time when sexual activity should not be performed. Treatments should not be chosen solely on the type of technique used, but also by the other effects they will have, including those not associated directly with the procedure itself. Patients may wish to write down a list of questions to ask their physician during the appointment to help ensure they do not forget any important questions. By having these and other questions in hand, asking, “Who should I talk to about treating fibroids” becomes a much simpler matter and the treatments can proceed.

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Fibroid Treatment – Garza Leal et al. Study

The Acessa System uses ultrasound-guided radiofrequency volumetric thermal ablation, which has been used in many other medical specialties such as cardiovascular surgery, orthopedics, general surgery, and neurosurgery because of the life-improving treatment effects. This study suggests that in fibroid treatment benefits can be found as well.

Low Re-intervention Rate – Treatment of Fibroids

Using the Acessa System for fibroid treatment, as mentioned, there was no need for further fibroid treatment in the year these patients were followed after treatment. During this time, the only reported adverse events were mild abdominal pain, not requiring treatment. Of the seven patients who had adverse reactions immediately following the procedure, four were due to abdominal pain, three in the umbilical area, and were effectively treated. Two were related to urinary tract infections, and in one patient, an abdominal wall vascular injury was discovered, but was resolved.

Significant Improvement in Quality of Life after Treatment of Fibroids

Quality of life by six months had improved from baseline to 80%. Symptom severity had also improved by 66% at six months. Reports of very heavy menstrual bleeding at baseline was 80%, and by six months had reduced

to 13%, and by twelve months no patients reported heavy or very heavy menses. Duration of menses also decreased from a baseline of 51% having menses lasting longer than six days to 13% at six months and 10% at 12 months. The study also reports a significant reduction in the rate of pad use by patients being over 15 per day at baseline at 66% to 20% at six months and only 5% at 12 months.

In conclusion, laparoscopic ultrasound-guided thermal ablation for fibroid treatment using the Acessa System significantly reduces symptoms, need for additional fibroid treatment, and improves patient quality of life significantly to at least 1 year after treatment.

Click here to read the abstract

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How To Treat Fibroids

A physician can offer guidance for how to treat fibroids. If no symptoms occur treatment isn’t necessary. A woman’s fibroids will tend to shrink during menopause. Her physician will watch the fibroids for changes to track symptoms and growths. Prior to menopause, women need to consider whether they still desire to have children or not before deciding if and how they wish to treat their fibroids. For women near menopause, adopting a wait and see approach may be the best decision.

Medicinal Treatment

Medication can be used to control symptoms or to shrink tumors. For pain, an over-the-counter medicine like acetaminophen or ibuprofen may be taken. Other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can be used also. If a woman experiences heavy bleeding, she can take iron supplements to combat or prevent anemia. Female contraceptives (birth control) can also be used as a method to treat fibroids. They control heavy bleeding and can relieve minor pain, while also preventing pregnancy if this is a concern.

Several medications are used to treat fibroids.

Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists – treat fibroids by decreasing progesterone and estrogen levels. This puts the body in a post-menopause state, which stops menstruation, can improve anemia, and shrink fibroids. If discontinued, fibroids usually grow back.

Intrauterine device (IUD) – releases small doses of progesterone into a woman’s uterus to relieve heavy bleeding and pain but won’t shrink fibroids.

Androgens – stop menstruation, shrink fibroids, and get rid of anemia. It’s rarely used because it basically causes a woman to exhibit manly traits, such as a deepening voice and hair growth, and also causes acne and headaches.

Progestin – reduces bleeding and prevents pregnancy. Studies differ as related to fibroid growth. Some show shrinkage, others show growth depending on the patient.

Surgical

When a woman wants to know how to treat fibroids permanently, in past the only solution was a hysterectomy. This procedure removes her entire uterus and she can elect to have her ovaries removed also. If her ovaries are removed, hormone replacement therapy is usually needed. Now, with the development of Acessa Health’s Acessa System that employs radiofrequency ablation, women have the ability to treat all of their fibroids without having to lose their uterus.

In addition to radiofrequency ablation, a woman who would like to preserve their uterus can choose to have a myomectomy. Myomectomy is the surgical removal of fibroids from the uterus. It allows the uterus to be left in place and, for some women, makes pregnancy more likely than before. Currently, myomectomy is the preferred fibroid treatment for women who want to become pregnant. After myomectomy, your chances of becoming pregnant may be improved but are not guaranteed. Myomectomies can be done in one of three ways:

  • Abdominal – open abdominal procedure for large fibroids
  • Laparoscopic – instruments or robots used to remove small fibroids as doctor watches
  • Hysteroscopic – instruments entered through vagina to uterus as doctor views through a scope

Myomectomy does have risks of complication and recurrence rates for fibroids can run from 10% – 50%.

There are a few other minimally invasive procedures as well. An MRI focused ultrasound may be used to destroy fibroids in multiple sessions. Uterine artery embolization (UAE) stops blood flow to fibroids. They shrink, but cause pain that may require prescription relief. Myolysis uses a laser or electric current to terminate fibroids and minimize feeding blood vessels. Endometrial ablation is performed with a special instrument that uses microwaves, electric current, or hot water to destroy the uterus lining, which ends or reduces menstruation.

Information on how to treat fibroids is crucial if a woman is experiencing symptoms. With this knowledge and the aid of a physician she can make the best choices for her situation.

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