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All Medical Procedures

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.

A forceps delivery is a type of operative vaginal delivery. It's sometimes needed in the course of vaginal childbirth.

In a forceps delivery, a health care provider applies forceps — an instrument shaped like a pair of large spoons or salad tongs — to the baby's head to help guide the baby out of the birth canal. This is typically done during a contraction while the mother pushes.

Your health care provider might recommend a forceps delivery during the second stage of labor — when you're pushing — if labor isn't progressing or the baby's safety depends on an immediate delivery.

A forceps delivery poses a risk of injury for both mother and baby. If a forceps delivery fails, a cesarean delivery (C-section) might be needed.

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a complex series of procedures used to treat fertility or genetic problems and assist with the conception of a child. During IVF, mature eggs are collected (retrieved) from your ovaries and fertilized by sperm in a lab. Then the fertilized egg (embryo) or eggs are implanted in your uterus. One cycle of IVF takes about two weeks.

IVF is the most effective form of assisted reproductive technology. The procedure can be done using your own eggs and your partner's sperm. Or IVF may involve eggs, sperm or embryos from a known or anonymous donor. In some cases, a gestational carrier — a woman who has an embryo implanted in her uterus — might be used.

Your chances of having a healthy baby using IVF depend on many factors, such as your age and the cause of infertility. In addition, IVF can be time-consuming, expensive and invasive. If more than one embryo is implanted in your uterus, IVF can result in a pregnancy with more than one fetus (multiple pregnancy).

Your doctor can help you understand how IVF works, the potential risks and whether this method of treating infertility is right for you.

Intrauterine insemination (IUI) — a type of artificial insemination — is a procedure for treating infertility. Sperm that have been washed and concentrated are placed directly in your uterus around the time your ovary releases one or more eggs to be fertilized. Older types of artificial insemination placed the sperm in the vagina. While this was easier, it was not as successful as the current procedure.

The hoped-for outcome of intrauterine insemination is for the sperm to swim into the fallopian tube and fertilize a waiting egg, resulting in a normal pregnancy. Depending on the reasons for infertility, IUI can be coordinated with your normal cycle or with fertility medications.

Labor induction — also known as inducing labor — is a procedure used to stimulate uterine contractions during pregnancy before labor begins on its own. Successful labor induction leads to a vaginal birth. A health care provider might recommend labor induction for various reasons, primarily when there's concern for a mother's health or a baby's health.

Labor induction carries various risks, including infection and the need for a C-section. Sometimes the benefits of labor induction outweigh the risks, however. If you're pregnant, understanding why and how labor induction is done can help you prepare.

Medical abortion is a procedure that uses various medications to end a pregnancy. A medical abortion is started either in a doctor's office or at home with visits to your health care provider. Medical abortion doesn't require anesthesia or surgery, but it can only be done early in pregnancy.

Pursuing a medical abortion is a major decision with emotional and psychological consequences. If you're considering medical abortion, make sure you understand what the procedure entails, the side effects, and possible risks and complications.

The minipill, also known as the progestin-only birth control pill, is an oral contraceptive that contains the hormone progestin. Unlike combination birth control pills, the minipill doesn't contain estrogen. The progestin dose in a minipill is lower than the progestin dose in a combination oral contraceptive pill.

The minipill thickens cervical mucus and thins the lining of the uterus (endometrium) — preventing sperm from reaching the egg. The minipill also sometimes suppresses ovulation. For maximum effectiveness, you must take the minipill at the same time every day.

Mirena is a hormonal intrauterine device (IUD) that's inserted into the uterus for long-term birth control (contraception). A T-shaped plastic frame that releases a type of progestin, Mirena thickens the cervical mucus to prevent sperm from reaching or fertilizing an egg. Mirena also thins the lining of the uterus and partially suppresses ovulation.

Mirena is one of two hormonal IUDs with Food and Drug Administration approval. The other is Skyla, which prevents pregnancy for up to three years. Mirena prevents pregnancy for up to five years after insertion.

The morning-after pill is a type of emergency birth control (contraception). The purpose of emergency contraception is to prevent pregnancy after a woman has had unprotected sex. Morning-after pills contain either levonorgestrel (Plan B One-Step, Next Choice) or ulipristal (Ella).

Plan B One-Step, Next Choice and Ella are the only morning-after pills that have Food and Drug Administration approval in the U.S. However, other brands of morning-after pills are available around the world.

Plan B One-Step is available over-the-counter without prescription. Next Choice is available over-the-counter for women age 17 and older. Ella is available only with a prescription from your doctor or health care provider.

Myomectomy (my-o-MEK-tuh-mee) is a surgical procedure to remove uterine fibroids — also called leiomyomas (lie-o-my-O-muhs). These are common noncancerous growths that appear in the uterus, usually during childbearing years, but they can occur at any age.

The surgeon's goal during myomectomy is to take out symptom-causing fibroids and reconstruct the uterus. Unlike hysterectomy, which removes your entire uterus, myomectomy removes only the fibroids and leaves your uterus intact.

Women who undergo myomectomy report improvement in fibroid symptoms, including heavy menstrual bleeding and pelvic pressure.