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OBGYN.net Conference Coverage - AAGL 2004
Good afternoon. My name is Bruce Lee. I am a gynecologist from Monterey, California, and I am Director of Gynecologic Surgery at the Monterey Peninsula Surgery Center. Here at the AAGL meeting, I have presented data regarding the Halt Procedure, which stands for Hysterectomy ALTernative. The procedure involves radiofrequency ablation of uterine fibroids. The procedure is done as an outpatient and it is highly effective in causing resolution of the symptoms of fibroids, allowing patients to return to all normal activities and it shrinks uterine fibroids dramatically. The procedure has been done for over five years now and the data is quite compelling regarding the effectiveness. Radiofrequency has been in medicine for quite a long time, but never administered in gynecology. However, that has now changed.
Uterine fibroids are extremely common: they cause heavy bleeding, heavy menstrual cramping, pain with intercourse, urinary frequency and abdominal and pelvic pain and distension. With the aid of this procedure, I am able to cause resolution of those symptoms in a fairly short amount of time. Not only that, but the procedure in our area is one-third the cost of a hysterectomy and does not carry the complications one sees after uterine artery embolization. So the procedure is highly effective, very cosmetic, outpatient and affordable. Not only that, but it can be done at the community level in ambulatory surgery centers. It does not require a major university, it does not require expensive equipment like an MRI machine and, in my opinion, the majority of gynecologists can learn this procedure and treat uterine fibroids and allow patients to keep their uterus if that is their desire. I hope that other gynecologists will start doing this procedure for their patients because I believe there is a need. That is how I began doing this procedure five years ago: my patients said, Dr Lee, find us another way other than hysterectomy. Fortunately, we have another way now and that is the Halt Procedure, radiofrequency ablation of uterine myomata.