More than 120,000 American women suffer from excessive menstrual bleeding, and if they choose to have their uterus removed, it's a major surgery with a long recovery. But now there is a less invasive technique that is helping many women whose period drags on for 15, 20, even 30 days. It's Hydro-Therm Ablation, which uses hot water to destroy the lining of the uterus, which stops or reduces the bleeding.
"You see the tissue actually blanch and that's the destruction of the tissue. You actually watch it happen right before your eyes, so you have visual confirmation that the procedure is working effectively," says Anthony Kosinski, M.D. of Advocate Masonic Hospital.
Dr. Kosinski inserts a special scope with a tube into the cervix. Then a saline solution of water flows in, where it's slowly heated to 194 degrees. Unlike other alternatives to hysterectomy, Hydro-Ablation is able to reach all the nooks and crannies of the uterus. An automatic cut-off eliminates the risk of water seeping into the body.
So far about half the patients end up with no monthly bleeding. Another 40% to 45% see their flow reduced to normal. Dr. Kosinski says patients can return to work, but need to take it easy for a few days.