Focused ultrasound surgery for uterine fibroids

Focused ultrasound surgery is a noninvasive treatment option for uterine fibroids — noncancerous growths of the uterus. A pelvic magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan is typically performed before treatment to determine whether you're a good candidate for focused ultrasound surgery.

Focused ultrasound surgery — also called magnetic resonance-guided focused ultrasound surgery or focused ultrasound ablation — is performed while you're inside an MRI scanner equipped with a high-energy ultrasound transducer for treatment.

The images give your doctor the precise location of the uterine fibroids and the locations of nearby structures to be avoided, such as the bowel and bladder. While the MRI monitors the targeted fibroid and surrounding structures, the ultrasound transducer focuses sound waves into the fibroid to heat and destroy small areas of fibroid tissue.

Not widely available, focused ultrasound surgery typically is done at specialized clinics.

Why it's done Risks How you prepare What you can expect Results

Focused ultrasound surgery:

  • Can ease bothersome symptoms associated with uterine fibroids, including heavy bleeding and pelvic pain and pressure
  • Provides a noninvasive alternative to surgical treatment of fibroids
  • Is done on an outpatient basis
  • Typically allows a rapid return to normal activities after the procedure

Although focused ultrasound surgery offers many advantages over other fibroid treatment options, it's not the best option for everyone. It may not be a good choice for you if:

  • You have multiple abdominal scars that make it difficult to find a safe path between the transducer and the fibroid
  • You have many fibroids or very large fibroids
  • You want to optimize your chance of a future pregnancy

A number of women have had successful pregnancies after treatment. However, long-term effects on a woman's ability to become pregnant and carry a baby to term have not been studied adequately yet.

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