A New Treatment Choice - Without Knife or Needle
MR Guided Focused Ultrasound (MRgFUS) or High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HiFU) is a revolutionary, completely non-invasive treatment option for some women with fibroids and shows great promise in the treatment of smaller and medium sized fibroids. This 'knifeless surgery' is done as an outpatient procedure and patients remain conscious but, sedated and feeling no pain. It does not require general anesthesia and recovery time is also significantly reduced compared with surgical alternatives. Although relatively new (approved by FDA in October 2004), MRgFUS is a completely non-invasive treatment option that has shown great promise in the treatment women with smaller and medium sized fibroids and gives them fast recovery with limited side effects.
MRgFUS uses high intensity focused ultrasonic waves to destroy (ablate) the fibroids under real-time monitoring of the treated tissue.
During the procedure you lie on your stomach on a patient table that fits into a standard MRI scanner. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is advanced diagnostic technology, which provides 3D imaging of internal organs without radiation. The MR guided FUS treatment uses the MR images to identify where the fibroid is and what portion has been treated, without the need for any incisions. It also provides real time feedback about temperature changes of the treated fibroid to make sure that the fibrotic tissue has been ablated (destroyed).
First, the doctor identifies the fibroid(s) on MR images taken of your pelvic region. Then, after detailed planning, high energy focused ultrasound waves heat a small spot in the uterine fibroid to a temperature of up to 85°C. During the pulse or sonication, which lasts about 15-20 seconds, the doctor monitors the progress and reviews temperature-sensitive images. Since each sonication treats a very small volume, this process will be repeated until the required volume is treated, typically about 50-100 times. The procedure lasts about 2-3 hours depending upon the size and number of fibroids treated. Following the treatment the body gradually removes the treated tissue over a period of months, providing symptom relief.
Our MRgFUS machine, the ExAblate 2000, is FDA approved for the treatment of uterine fibroids. It has proven itself to be a safe, reliable, and effective way to treat fibroids and has prevented numerous women from undergoing surgery. MRgFUS allows our interventional radiologist to localize, target, monitor, and control the energy delivered by the ultrasound machine to kill the fibroid, without knife or needle.