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Fibroid Symptoms in Women can Be Relieved by Focused Ultrasound

A noninvasive ultrasound procedure effectively shrinks uterine fibroids and significantly relieves fibroid-related symptoms in women, according to the results of a multicenter clinical trial reported in the June issue of the journal Radiology. Magnetic resonance-guided, focused ultrasound surgery (MRgFUS) allows radiologists to precisely target fibroids without harming healthy surrounding tissue.

"This treatment immediately stops blood flow in the treated fibroid tissue, which results in a significant, sustained decrease in symptoms for up to 12 months," said the studys lead author, Fiona M. Fennessy, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of radiology at Harvard Medical School and staff radiologist at Brigham and Womens Hospital in Boston.

Uterine fibroids are benign growths of the muscle inside the uterus. According to the National Institutes of Health, at least 25 percent of women in the United States age 25 to 50 suffer from symptomatic uterine fibroids. Fibroid symptoms can include excessive menstrual bleeding, enlarged uterine size, frequent urination, pelvic pressure or pain and infertility.

According to the National Womens Health Information Center, fibroids are the primary reason for surgical removal of the uterus, accounting for approximately one-third of hysterectomies performed annually in the U.S. MRgFUS represents a noninvasive, outpatient alternative to hysterectomy.

"This treatment is ideal for older women who have completed their families and have a single or limited number of fibroids," said co-author Clare M. Tempany, M.D., professor of radiology at Harvard Medical School and director of Clinical Focused Ultrasound at Brigham and Womens Hospital.

The researchers studied 160 women with symptomatic fibroids. The women received pre-treatment MR imaging to identify and define the target fibroids. Radiologists then used MRgFUS to locate and treat the targeted fibroids while monitoring tem
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