MRgFUS may be used to treat benign uterine fibroids (myomas) without surgery. This incision-free approach offers an important alternative to treatments such as hysterectomy, myomectomy and UAE (uterine artery embolisation).
Fibroids are non-cancerous (benign), tumours that grow in the uterus (womb). They can vary in size and location and in many cases go unnoticed and are asymptomatic. They most commonly lie in the wall of the uterus (intramural fibroids) but may also protrude outside the uterus or into the cavity of the uterus.
While fibroids do not always cause symptoms to the patient, their size and location in the uterus can lead to problems for some women including:
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 work, an internal gynaecological examination and MR imaging of your fibroids. Based on this information, the consultant gynaecologist and interventional radiologist will decide if you are a candidate for MRgFUS.
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.
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You will have a formal consultation with a healthcare professional. During this time you will be able to explain your medical history, symptoms and raise any concerns that you might have.
We will also discuss with you whether any further diagnostic tests, such as scans or blood tests, are needed. Any additional costs will be discussed before further tests are carried out.
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Our dedicated team will also give you tailored advice to follow in the run up to your visit.
Before treatment, you are given a sedative and pain medication to help you relax. You lie on a special bed and are made comfortable before starting treatment. The treatment takes place with you lying on the bed inside the MR scanner. Your clinical team will be in the next room with two-way communication using a microphone and a speaker. The radiographer will inform you when images are being taken (scanning) and when the system is sonicating (treatment).
First, the radiologist 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. During the pulse or sonication, which lasts about 15 seconds, the radiologist 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, which is usually about 50 times. The procedure lasts about three hours depending upon the size and number of fibroids treated.
During treatment, it is normal to feel a warming sensation in your tummy. You will be given a safety stop button that allows you to immediately stop the sonication if the treatment becomes painful.
You are awake the entire time and provide feedback during the procedure to the radiologist.
Following the treatment, the treated tissue shrinks and dehydrates over a period of months, providing symptom relief.
Afterwards you will be asked to rest for a few hours in the hospital, while the mild sedation wears off. Then you will be able to go home and resume normal activity. A follow-up appointment, which will include an MRI scan, will be arranged for you at six months after your treatment.
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.
Depending on initial symptoms, most patients find relief from their fibroid-related symptoms within days, and up to three months.
Women often return to normal activities the day after the procedure. Others may choose to rest at home for an additional day or two.
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 vaginal discharge that increases over time and lasts more than 24 hours.
A fixed price for this treatment may be available on enquiry and following an initial consultation.
We are committed to delivering excellent individual care and customer service across our network of hospitals, clinics and specialist care centres around the UK. Our dedicated and highly trained team aim to achieve consistently excellent results. For us it's more than just treating patients, it's about looking after people.
The treatment described on this page may be adapted to meet your individual needs, so it's important to follow your healthcare professional's advice and raise any questions that you may have with them.
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