HIFU treatment helps with gynaecological issues and preserves fertility

March 11, 2022
HIFU treatment helps with gynaecological issues and preserves fertility

High-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) technology is a treatment for uterine fibroids and adenomyosis, both benign gynaecological tumours that diminish a woman’s reproductive health and chances of conception. Introduced at Mahkota Melaka Medical Centre (MMC) in Malaysia last August, HIFU offers a non-invasive and cost-friendly option for women with gynaecological issues, with clinically proven, positive outcomes.

Uterine fibroids are benign muscular tumours that grow in the uterine wall, whereas adenomyosis is a condition in which the inner lining of the uterus (endometrium) is found in the muscular wall of the uterus (myometrium). Both can cause painful symptoms such as heavy menstrual cramps, lower abdominal discomfort or tenderness, back pain, a sensation of fullness or pressure in the pelvic area, stomach bloating, and pain during intercourse.

While hysterectomy (removal of the uterus), myomectomy, and adenomyomectomy (removal of adenomyosis), are existing treatment options for uterine fibroids and adenomyosis, most women do not want to undergo a surgical procedure like hysterectomy. Myomectomy and adenomyomectomy, on the other hand, may lead to complications during pregnancy.

HIFU treatment helps with gynaecological issues and preserves fertility

HIFU technology is already in use for the removal of solid tumours, renal stones, benign thyroid nodules, and in palliative therapy. In gynaecology, the HIFU technology can be used for the ablation (shrinkage) of adenomyoma and as an alternative to surgical removal of uterine fibroids. HIFU is performed with the guidance by either Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRgFUS) or Ultrasound (USgHIFU) as the imaging modality, to target treatment to a specific focal area(s) in the tissue while avoiding damage to intervening tissues.

Women with the desire to conceive benefit the most from HIFU treatment because the procedure can precisely shrink the lesion while preserving the surrounding uterine muscles and tissues – the targeted use of HIFU causes less scar formation in the uterus wall, and so the expansion of the uterus to accommodate pregnancy and the contractility during labour can be retained; the procedure also has the upper hand on recovery time when compared with surgeries such as myomectomy or hysterectomy.

Indonesian patient Tannias, 31 years old, decided to go for the HIFU treatment at MMC for treatment of uterine fibroids. Tannias was excited to start the treatment and within a week, the entire procedure and post-op recovery were complete. Tannias was blown away by its relative ease and efficiency, and recommends other women to go for HIFU at MMC should they need a similar procedure be done.

Dr. S. Selva, Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, and Reproductive Medicine Specialist, MMC, was the surgeon in charge of Tannias’ procedure: “Ultrasound-based HIFU treatment session ranges between 1 to 4 hours and in most cases, the treatment can be done in a single session. Only patients with multiple or large diameter fibroids, may require several sessions. It is also worthwhile to note that patients will not have any blood loss during the procedure, hence eliminating the need for blood transfusions. HIFU also reduces the risks of potential complications that may arise from surgeries to remove adenomyoma or uterine fibroids.

“Most importantly, patients who wish to get pregnant do not have to wait for their uterus to heal completely before trying to conceive. They can resume having sexual intercourse after completion of the next menstrual cycle. Studies have shown successful pregnancy within months after HIFU treatment for fibroids either by natural pregnancy or assisted reproductive treatment.”

Read: Obesity harms female reproductive health

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Category: Features, Technology & Devices

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