Uterine fibroid is one of the most common benign tumors in the female reproductive system. It frequently occurs in women aged 30-50 years, with a high incidence of about 20-25%. One in five women may suffer from uterine fibroids.
However, only about 30% of the patients reached the operation indications of uterine fibroids, and the remaining 70% were patients at an early stage. For those patients, high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) technology——“ Ultra-wave Knife ” may help them out.
At this point, some of our readers may still not know what HIFU is. We have collected some of the most common questions for you.
Got uterine fibroids, what to do?
Uterine fibroid is a common benign tumor, of which the chance of malignant transformation is as low as 0.4-0.8%. If the size of fibroids is small and the patient doesn’t have any discomfort, regular follow-up visit every 3-6 months is enough. But if the size of fibroids is more than 5.0 cm, or there are obvious symptoms in patients, such as excessive menstruation, prolonged menstruation, abnormal vaginal bleeding, anemia, etc., it needs to be treated. Common treatments will be described in detail below.
What are the common treatment methods of uterine fibroids?
The common treatment methods of uterine fibroids include:
1. Drug therapy.
2. Surgical treatment (hysterectomy, subtotal hysterectomy, myomectomy, etc.).
3. Minimally invasive treatment (laparoscopic myomectomy, hysteroscopic myomectomy, radiofrequency ablation, uterine artery embolization, etc.).
4. Non-invasive treatment: High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU).
Drug therapy is not effective, while surgery and minimally invasive treatment lead to greate damage to patients especially when repeated treatment occurs. In this respect, high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) is the best choice for most of the patients.
What is the principle of HIFU?
HIFU, short for High Intensity Focused Ultrasound, is a non-invasive therapeutic technology with the potential to transform the treatment of many medical disorders by using ultrasonic energy to target tissue deep in the body without incisions or radiation.The fundamental principle is analogous to using a magnifying glass to focus beams of sunlight on a single point to burn a hole in a leaf.
Multiple intersecting beams of ultrasound are focusedon a target deep in the body with extreme precision and accuracy, causing the target temperature rise rapidly to more than 56 ℃ in a few seconds, which leads to coagulative necrosis of the target tissue. The tissue outside the lesion area was not damaged.
What are the advantages of HIFU in the treatment of uterine fibroids?
1. There is no surgery and bleeding during the treatment, which reduces the risk of infection and thrombosis. The incidence of complications is low.
2. HIFU treatment can accurately locate the target lesions and minimize the damage to healthy tissues.
3. Short recovery time after treatment (patients can quickly return to work and normal life)
4. There is no ionizing radiation or damage to patients and doctors.
5. patients can retain uterus and fertility.
6. For patients with recurrence of uterine fibroids, HIFU treatment cause nearly no damage compared with multiple surgical treatment.
1. The uterine fibroids are comfirmed after the diagnosis and can be shown clearly by transabdominal ultrasound.
2. Patients have a desire to preserve the uterus.
3. The uterine fibroids have no operation indication, but patients have psychological burden.
4. Patients who are unwilling or unable to undergo surgery.
1. Pregnant and nursing women;
2. Uterine fibroids complicated by serious organic diseases such as uncontrollable hypertension, history of cerebrovascular accident, history of myocardial infarction, serious arrhythmia, heart failure, renal failure, liver failure, etc.;
3. Highly suspected pelvic adhesions;
4. Patients with other gynecological malignancies;
5. Acute or subacute infection of pelvic or reproductive tract;
6. Patients who are undergoing anticoagulant therapy or have bleeding tendency;
7. Subserosal myoma with pedicle, submucous myoma with pedicle and cervical myoma;
8. Patients with severe scar on ultrasound conduction path.
Is there any side effect after focused ultrasound treatment and how long can it be recovered?
All treatments of uterine fibroids may have adverse reactions, in contrast, the side effects of HIFU treatment is the lightest, and most of the injuries can recover by themselves.
The common adverse reactions after treatment include:
Some patients may have low fever of less than 38 degrees, which usually lasts for 1-3 days. If the body temperature is higher than 38 degrees, be alert to the risk of infection and go to the hospitals for checks.
2. Abdominal wall discomfort:
Generally the symptom will disappear in one or two days after the treatment.
3. Slight distending pain in buttock , waist and the lower part of abdomen
Generally the symptom will disappear in several days after the treatment.
4. A small amount of vaginal secretions:
Patients may have light bloody secretions when uterine fibroids are close to the intima. Keep the vulva clean. Generally the symptom will disappear in several weeks after the treatment.
What are the factors of treatment effect?
The factors of treatment effect are as follows:
1. The patients’ age and health;
2. Abdominal wall thickness;
3. The condition of pelvis and acoustic channel
4. The location, size and type of uterine fibroids;
5. CFDI blood flow signal classification, MRI T2WI signal intensity;
6. Therapeutic energy.