MR-guided ultrasound surgery: Effective treatment for uterine fibroids?

October 1, 2007

Magnetic resonance-guided ultrasound surgery, which can be performed without general anesthesia, with virtually no recovery period, and which leaves the uterus intact, provided durable symptom relief to women with symptomatic uterine leiomyomata for up to 2 years in a recent study. However, the authors of the study conclude that the risk of additional procedures is high for women who receive minimal treatment.

Magnetic resonance-guided ultrasound surgery, which can be performed without general anesthesia, with virtually no recovery period, and which leaves the uterus intact, provided durable symptom relief to women with symptomatic uterine leiomyomata for up to 2 years in a recent study. However, the authors of the study conclude that the risk of additional procedures is high for women who receive minimal treatment.

In addition, the study, which included 359 women, didn't reveal precisely how many patients enjoyed sustained improvement and didn't provide detailed information about possible adverse events like transient sacral neuropathy and skin burns, which the authors of the study merely state can "be mitigated with treatment planning and physician experience."

The procedure aims high-intensity focused ultrasound beams at a fibroid. The heat generated coagulates the blood supply of the fibroid, causing the tumor to shrivel and die. Many believe the surgery offers hope to the numerous women with symptomatic fibroids, particularly those who want to keep their uterus intact, but most agree that additional study is needed.

Rabin RC. It banishes uterine fibroids, but for how long? New York Times. August 7, 2007:F5.