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Noninvasive ultrasound treatment shrinks fibroids

CHICAGO - A totally noninvasive procedure using high-intensity ultrasound waves to heat and destroy uterine fibroid tissue significantly relieves fibroid-related symptoms in women, according to the results of a multicenter clinical trial. Magnetic resonance-guided, focused ultrasound surgery (MRgFUS) allows radiologists to precisely target fibroids without harming healthy surrounding tissue. The study was presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

"This treatment immediately stops blood flow in the fibroid tissue, which results in a significant, sustained decrease in symptoms for up to 12 months," said the study's lead author, Fiona M. Fennessy, M.D., Ph.D., instructor of radiology at Harvard Medical School and staff radiologist at Brigham and Women's 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 uterine fibroids, and as many as 50 percent of African American women have uterine fibroids.

Symptoms can include excessive menstrual bleeding, enlarged uterine size, frequent urination, pelvic pressure or pain and infertility. The absolute treatment for symptomatic fibroids is hysterectomy, which is the complete removal of the uterus. According to the National Women's Health Information Center, fibroids are the primary reason for hysterectomy, accounting for 175,000, or approximately one-third, of hysterectomies performed annually in the United States.

"Hysterectomy is currently the gold standard of therapy for uterine fibroids," Dr. Fennessy said. "However, women are increasingly seeking minimally invasive or noninvasive alternatives to hysterectomy."

Dr. Fennessy and colleagues studied 160 women with symptomatic fibroids treated as part of a clinical trial at five medical centers. The women received pre-treatment MR imagi
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Contact: Maureen Morley
mmorley@rsna.org
630-590-7762
Radiological Society of North America
30-Nov-2005


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