Uterine fibroids are benign growths of smooth muscle tissue in the uterus that are usually asymptomatic. So common and benign are fibroids that they actually affect one in four women, usually in their 30s and 40s, and most don’t even realize they have them.
However, that’s not to say they’re all asymptomatic. In fact, about 250,000 hysterectomies, a surgical procedure that removes the uterus, are performed each year to deal with the symptoms of fibroid cysts. That’s about one-third of all total hysterectomies performed in the United States.
The trouble is, though, that a study from the University of Michigan published last January in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that one in five women who underwent a hysterectomy for benign conditions might not have needed it.
Fortunately, there are other alternatives.
Radiofrequency volumetric thermal ablation, or RFVTA, is one of the best alternative uterine fibroid treatments available. Here’s how this uterine fibroid removal procedure works.
RFVTA fibroid treatments use laparoscopy and laparoscopic ultrasound to guide needle electrodes that have deployable arrays as they’re placed. Once the laparoscopic ultrasound probes are placed, it becomes possible for the care giver to map the uterus, and devise a plan to destroy the fibroids.
Targeting the Fibroid
Once an approach has been determined, the next phase in these fibroid treatments is to insert a handpiece containing the radiofrequency needle through the abdominal wall under laparoscopic visualization. The needle is then placed in the target fibroid using both ultrasound and laparoscopic guidance. The needle array is then deployed depending on the size of the fibroid, ensuring that its properly destroyed.
Once the fibroid has been targeted, practitioners engage the radiofrequency generators, using the timing function to optimize the fibroid’s destruction. This will destroy the fibroid without harming any of the surrounding tissues.
RFVTA fibroid treatments are outpatient procedures that use heat to destroy the tissues without harming the surrounding, normal uterine tissues. Once destroyed, the fibroid will not grow back. Patients are free to go home several hours following these fibroid treatments, and are even able to return to their normal routines in about a week after their fibroid treatments.
If you’d like to learn more about this innovative treatments for uterine fibroids, feel free to share any questions in the comments.