Frequently asked questions about MRgFUS

I think I might have fibroids – how can I tell?

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Only a medical professional can diagnose fibroids. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms of fibroids, you should seek a diagnosis from either your GP or a Consultant Gynaecologist:

  • Very heavy and prolonged monthly periods, sometimes with clots
  • Pain in the back or in the legs
  • Pelvic pain or pressure
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Pressure on the bladder which leads to a constant need to urinate, incontinence, or the inabilityto empty the bladder
  • Pressure on the bowel which can lead to constipation and/or bloating
  • An enlarged abdomen which may be mistaken for weight gain or pregnancy

How will they know if I have fibroids?

During a gynecological examination, the Consultant Gynaecologist will check the size of your uterus. If it feels enlarged, they may order an abdominal or transvaginal ultrasound or a magnetic resonance (MR) imaging session, which can confirm the presence, location and size of fibroids. After identifying the size and location of your fibroids, and possibly after other diagnostic tests, the gynaecologist may be able to rule out other conditions, and advise you if you are eligible for treatment with MRgFUS.

How do I know if I am eligible for treatment?

If you require treatment for your fibroid related symptoms, but want to avoid surgery and preserve your uterus, we will be happy to arrange a consultation with you. A Consultant Gynaecologist will ask you questions about your fibroid symptoms, general health and medical history. You will also have routine blood test, an internal gynecological examination and MR scans of your fibroids. Based on this information, the Consultant Gynaecologist and Radiologist will decide if you are a candidate for MRgFUS.

What types of fibroids can be treated with MRgFUS?

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The consultant gynaecologist and radiologist will determine if your fibroids are suitable for treatment. MRgFUS can be used for submucosal, subserosal and intramural uterine fibroids. These are terms that are used to describe the location of the fibroid within the uterus. More than one fibroid can be treated. Fibroids that are pedunculated (hanging from a stalk), in close proximity to sensitive organs (such as bowel or bladder), or in a location inaccessible by the focused ultrasound may be untreatable.

Who is not eligible for the MRgFUS treatment?

In general, women who cannot enter into an MR scanner will not be able to have the MRgFUS treatment – this includes patients with metallic implants, patients who are claustrophobic and patients who are allergic to the contrast agent, a dye used to see blood vessels during MR imaging.  Your consultant will discuss this with you.

What are my other treatment alternatives?

The Consultant Gynaecologist will be able to discuss treatment alternatives with you. In general, other available treatments are:

  • Watchful waiting
  • Hysterectomy
  • Abdominal myomectomy
  • Laparoscopic or hysteroscopic myomectomy
  • Uterine artery embolisation
  • Hormone therapy

I recently had a myomectomy but my fibroids are still bothering me - can I get this treatment?

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During consultation with our Gynaecologist, the MRgFUS option should be discussed.  Depending on how the surgery was performed, patients who have scar tissue on their abdomen from myomectomy or a previous surgery/C-section may not be eligible for the treatment since focused ultrasound is not indicated when large scar tissue is present.

All about MRgFUS

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What does the MR imaging provide?

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is advanced diagnostic technology which provides 3D imaging of internal organs without radiation. The MRgFUS system uses the MR images to identify where the fibroid is and what portion has been treated non-invasively. It also provides real time feedback about temperature changes of the treated fibroid to make sure that the fibrotic tissue has been ablated (destroyed).

What makes MRgFUS different from than other types of treatments for tumors?

MRgFUS is a non-invasive, day-case procedure with minimal post-treatment pain and fast recovery time . Patients who undergo MRgFUS treatment are back on their feet significantly faster than after surgical interventions . Furthermore, MRgFUS leaves the uterus intact, which for certain women leaves open the option for future pregnancies .  

What are the benefits  of MRgFUS?

  • Non-invasive – without the trauma of surgery.
  • Fast  recovery – women generally return to normal within days.
  • Significant  improvement in quality of life – relief from heavy bleeding, pressure and other symptoms.
  • Uterine-sparing – preserves hormonal function and fertility in women of childbearing age. 
  • Safe and non-toxic – no drugs, hormones, or ionizing radiation. 

What are the risks and complications associated with MRgFUS?

Overall, MRgFUS is a safe  procedure for treating symptomatic fibroids with minimal risk. Infrequent  complications that have been reported following MRgFUS treatments are listed below. You should talk to your doctor about the likelihood that you may experience any of these risks:

Short term  

  • Low blood pressure or fainting during or after procedure.
  • Abdominal pain/cramping, nausea and/or fever.
  • Allergic reaction to contrast media or medications.
  • Minor skin injury (burns).
  • Back or leg pain that persists for a few days.
  • Urinary tract infection.

Long term

The incidence of serious or long term risks reported for this procedure is extremely low.
However, you should be aware that there have been rare reports following MRgFUS treatments of:

  • Abdominal skin burn with ulceration.
  • Back or leg pain or weakness.

Additional risks

  • There is a risk that the treatment may not be successful and you may require an alternative treatment therapy to improve your symptoms.
  • The treatment may be successful in reducing the symptoms from the fibroids that are treated, but at a later time, more fibroids may become symptomatic, requiring additional treatments. This is true for all fibroid treatments, except hysterectomy.

If you have any questions concerning risks and complications of the procedure, you should discuss them with your consultant.

The MRgFUS Procedure – Before, During and After

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What should I know before the MRgFUS procedure?

You should inform the radiology team if you are allergic to certain medications or contrast agents to avoid any type of reaction to the procedure. You and your consultant will also decide what type of sedation works best for you. Conscious sedation is most often used, which means you are awake during the procedure but you may feel groggy.
What will I be required to do during the treatment?

In order for the treatment to be successful, it is very important that you lie very still during the procedure. You will be given sedatives and pain medication to help you relax. The radiology team will also talk with you throughout the procedure to see how you are feeling. At any time you will be able to tell him or her if something is bothering you.
How long will the treatment last?

Each "sonication" ablates a prescribed volume. Therefore, multiple sonications are required to ablate the entire tumor/targeted area, and the time required for a treatment depends on the fibroid size. Treatments usually do not last longer than three hours, and multiple treatments may be required for large tumors.
What happens after the MRgFUS procedure?

The MRgFUS procedure takes 3 to 4 hours. Afterwards, you will be asked to rest for a few hours in the hospital, while the mild sedation wears off, then you will usually be able to go home and resume normal activity 

What happens when I go home?

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You will receive discharge instructions from your consultant and depending upon how you are feeling,  over-the-counter pain relief medication may be recommended. Occasionally women may experience some cramping, similar to menstrual period cramping or shoulder/back pain from lying in the treatment position. Most women are able to return to work and normal activity the day after the procedure .
How soon will I start to feel better?

Depending on initial symptoms, most patients find relief from their fibroid-related symptoms within days, and up to 3 months .

How long after the treatment until I can return to normal activities?

Women often return to normal activities the day after the procedure. Others may choose to rest at home for an additional day or two.  
Who will provide my post procedure care after the MRgFUS procedure?

Our radiology team will discuss with you who will handle your follow-up care, phone calls and/or hospital visits, after the procedure. They will also tell you who to contact in case of an emergency after your procedure. This is especially important if you experience fever, pelvic pain, or foul-smelling vaginal discharge that increases over time and lasts more than 24 hours.

Where can I find more information?

Please contact:

Private treatment team: 0121 704 5530

MRgFUS and Fertility Issues

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What are the treatment options if a woman wants to preserve her fertility?

For women of child-bearing age with uterine fibroids who want to consider future pregnancy, the most common option is myomectomy. This requires several days of hospital stay and extended recovery . 
Why might MRgFUS be an alternative for women wishing to preserve childbearing capability?

Since MRgFUS does not involve incisions, the uterine wall/myometrium remains intact and there is no scarring, meaning little risk of placental abruption, no impairment of the blood supply to myometrium .

What is the experience with pregnancies after MRgFUS?

Over 100 patients have reported becoming pregnant after treatment. 

How long after the procedure can conception take place?

Published case reports  have shown that conception can occur within several months after the procedure.

Does a pregnancy that occurs after the procedure put the woman at risk of obstetric complications?

Conception following the procedure does not automatically put a woman at risk of obstetric complications. Clearly, the condition of each patient will determine their level of risk.

Does the procedure affect the type of birth – C-section or vaginal?

Pregnancies following MRgFUS treatments have been shown to result in a higher number of vaginal deliveries than births following myomectomy . More importantly, most of the babies were delivered at term, and full birth weight.

What are the risks to pregnancy for a woman who undergoes myomectomy?

The risks include adhesions, difficulty conceiving, malplacentation and spontaneous abortion.  For this reason, it is often recommended that deliveries after myomectomy should be by Caesarean section. 

What about women who are at the upper limit  of childbearing age?

As more and more women are postponing childbearing, the incidence of infertility in this group of women is increasing . MRgFUS has been shown to be effective in resolving fertility issues resulting from fibroids/adenomyosis in women in their late 30s and early 40s .