Uterine fibroids are extremely common… 30% of women in their 30s, 40s, and 50s have them and I would guess that almost the entire 30% of these women have had surgical removal of the fibroids suggested to them. Invasive surgery, which is potentially harmful to uterine tissue and may disrupt the menstrual cycle, is no longer the only option. Magnetic resonance-guided focused ultrasound, Focused Ultrasound for short, is proving to successfully remove uterine fibroids (uterine polyps) while preserving uterine integrity.
Focused Ultrasound is a non-invasive medical procedure whereby, through magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), doctors are able to watch as focused pulses of ultrasound energy directed at uterine fibroid tissue ablate the fibroid or destroy its cells.
The Benefits of Focused Ultrasound for Treating Uterine Fibroids
The most important benefit of Focused Ultrasound is that it does not impact the uterine tissue surrounding the fibroid, only the fibroid itself. It preserves the uterus. Additional benefits may not be limited to:
- it is an outpatient procedure
- requires no incision or having anything physically inserted into the uterus
- results in minimal to no discomfort
- has few, often no, complications
- allows for comfortable recovery at home at a more rapid pace than conventional surgery
In the US, the FDA has approved Focused Ultrasound treatment for only two health conditions, uterine fibroids and bone metastases (cancerous tumors in the bones). Many health conditions that affect fertility including obesity, PCOS, thyroid nodules, uterine adenomyomas, and breast fibroadenomas (the latter two approved for treatment outside of the US) may be treatable in the US in the future; clinical trials are being conducted to determine their future approval.
If interested in learning more about the procedure or if you are eligible, it would be best to speak with your healthcare provider.
Focused Ultrasound is a young technology. In the year 1935, Johannes Gruetzmacher was the first person to focus ultrasound, and seven years later in 1942 the first focused ultrasound device was developed by a physicist and his brother, William and Francis Fry. Prior to the year 2000 there were only four manufacturers of the equipment to perform Focused Ultrasound worldwide, now there are 28.
Up until the year 2014, there have been 22,144 patients with uterine fibroids treated worldwide and there are at present 26 sites in the US where either Focused Ultrasound is being performed or there are clinical trials using this technology for uterine fibroids alone.
Complimentary Natural Treatment Options for Uterine Fibroids
Herbs, nutritional supplements, and natural therapies should be considered alongside any uterine fibroid treatment. It is important to support the body’s natural ability to:
- maintain a healthy environment within the uterus by promoting hormonal balance
- reduce occurrences of occasional growths
- properly metabolize excess estrogen
It is equally as important to continue to support the body after a medical procedure to remove fibroids, because removing a fibroid does not address the underlying hormonal imbalance that has caused them to form and will not prevent them from recurring.
Our guides to help you learn more about how to naturally support a healthy uterine environment are:
The Best Natural Remedies for Uterine Fibroids…
Top Ways to Improve Uterine Health for Women with Uterine Fibroids
3 Things Women with Uterine Fibroids Should Be Doing Daily
Focused Ultrasound Resources
Focused Ultrasound Foundation
Uterine Fibroids: Treating uterine fibroids non-invasively (website)
- How It Works. (n.d.). Retrieved from: http://www.fusfoundation.org/for-patients/how-it-works
- How focused ultrasound destroys fibroids with an intact uterus. (n.d.). Retrieved from: http://www.uterine-fibroids.org/mr_guided.html
- Thermal Ablation: Thermal ablation, the most clinically advanced bioeffect of focused ultrasound, produces cell death in a targeted area with minimal damage to the surrounding tissue. 1,2. (n.d.). Retrieved from: https://www.fusfoundation.org/mechanisms-of-action/thermal-ablation