Annual Advancements in Medicine Section
From minimally invasive surgical technologies to innovative appproaches to rehabiliation and beyond, new research in the medical field is optimizing care for patients and doctors alike. Read on to discover the latest in revolutionary treatment options.
Laparoscopic radiofrequency ablation is a new, minimally invasive option to target uterine fibroids.
Understanding Uterine Fibroids
Uterine fibroids are common, noncancerous growths in the muscle tissue of the uterus, affecting up to 80% of U.S. women at some point in their lives. Most women do not experience any issues associated with uterine fibroids, but those who do may suffer from heavy bleeding, painful periods, and abdominal pain. When these symptoms affect a woman’s quality of life, surgery may be recommended to intervene.
Previously, the most common treatment for symptomatic uterine fibroids was a hysterectomy, a major surgery where the entire uterus is removed. Minimally invasive, uterus-sparing surgeries have since emerged to treat fibroids, including laparoscopic radiofrequency ablation. The first of its kind to treat uterine fibroids, this procedure utilizes laparoscopic ultrasound imaging to accurately locate fibroids and controlled heat from radiofrequency waves to shrink the tissue.
What to Expect
First, you will receive anesthesia to ensure a painless experience. Then, your surgeon will make three small incisions in the abdomen for a camera, ultrasound wand, and surgery handpiece. They will use the imaging technologies to locate the fibroids and then apply controlled heat to the fibroid tissue via the surgical handpiece. Once surgery is complete, you will likely be cleared to go home that same day.
Benefits to Patients
Laparoscopic radiofrequency ablation has a quick recovery time, with patients returning to work in around five days. Its state-of-the-art imaging technique can locate up to two times more fibroids than conventional methods, allowing physicians to treat fibroids that may otherwise remain undetected and keeping reintervention rates low. This procedure leaves the uterus intact while effectively decreasing symptoms, giving women another option as they consider the best fibroid treatment for their current lifestyle.