About 2,000 woman a year undergo a hysterectomy in this country because they have uterine fibroids. Now, there's a new way to avoid that major surgery.
It's a new technology called Exablate. The newly FDA approved non-invasive treatment combines focused ultrasound energy with magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI to destroy fibroid tumors. The MRI enables the physician to see exactly where the fibroid is, and then direct small beams of focused ultrasound to the exact spot. The focused ultrasound energy heats the fibroid tissue, killing it. The process is repeated spot by spot until the entire tumor is destroyed.
"We try to go after the fibroid we think is causing the symptoms. Many women have too many fibroids or too big, so it's not all comers. Probably maybe 30% of symptomatic fibroid women in my estimation are very good candidates," says Dr. Paul Curtis from Virtual Health.
For the patient, it means no surgery, little discomfort, and a very brief recovery time, usually one to two days. Marianne was in Costa Rica a week later, hiking, climbing, the works. Even though it may be possible to get pregnant after the Exablate procedure, for now, doctors are limiting it only to women who are through with child bearing because of the chance that it may affect fertility.
The Exablate system was developed in conjunction with GE, the parent company of NBC. For more information: click here