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Singapore Premier Women's Hospital Offers Contactless Surgery for Uterine Fibroids
Date:3/3/2009

o 80 degrees Celsius. Only a small area of about 1cm width will be treated each time, for about 20 seconds. Once we clear one spot, we will turn the heat off and focus on the next area," explains Dr Ong.

The procedure is a painstaking one for the doctors, but a relative walk in the park for patients. All the latter has to do is lie flat on her stomach on the MRI platform and let the machines do the rest.

"The only important thing is that patients must remain still throughout, and that may be difficult for some because the entire process can take three to four hours, depending on the size of the fibroids," she adds.

Approved by the FDA in 2004, KKH was the first and only hospital in Southeast Asia to acquire the necessary technology, at a cost of about US$1 million. To date, 33 patients have been treated successfully, with five requiring second treatments.

According to Dr Ong, women who qualify for treatment include those whose fibroids are less than 10cm in size. Conventionally, the removal of such fibroids will require either keyhole or open surgery, which will mean having to stay a spell in hospital.

Patients undergoing this procedure would only feel some heat and may experience slight cramps in the abdomen, but there is usually little or no pain.

"We will offer the patient a sedative, or pain killer if necessary, but anesthesia is not given so the patient will remain responsive at all times," says Dr Ong, who adds that the procedure is considered safe for young women as it has been shown not to interfere with future pregnancies.

Since the procedure involves no cuts, there is none of the usual risks associated with conventional surgical treatments, such as risk of infection, blood loss or blood poisoning.

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