The study of this innovative treatment approach -- called magnetic resonance imaging guided focused ultrasound surgery (MRgFUS) -- also shows that the more completely tumors are destroyed by focused ultrasound, the more durable the symptom relief.
In addition, the incidence of severe side effects is low. Combined, these results produce an overall improved quality of life. The report by Mayo and its collaborators, the Magnetic Resonance Imaging Guided Focused Ultrasound for Uterine Fibroid Group at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, appears in the Aug. 1 issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology(http://www.greenjournal.org/future/110.2.shtml).
Significance of the Mayo Clinic Collaboration
This new study examined more endpoints and follows women for a longer period after treatment than previous studies of the effects of focused ultrasound to treat uterine fibroid tumors. For example, the current study followed patients post-treatment for twice as long -- 24 months versus 12 months -- than earlier studies. It also followed a patient group that was more than twice as large -- 359 women versus 160 women. The results are therefore stronger than those from earlier studies, and more clinically relevant in their potential to:
* improve patient care by decreasing the need for repeat tumor-removal procedures.
* keep health care costs down, given that treating fibroid tumors constitutes a significant health care expenditure, particularly if it involves major surgery such as hysterectomy, or requires multiple, repeat procedures of the traditionally used noninvasive therapies that include abdominal and laparoscopic tumor removal, or uterine artery embolization.
Explains Mayo Clinic reproductive endocrinologist Elizabeth Stewart, M.D., the study's lead author: "Up to one-third of women who undergo alternatives to hysterectomy to treat fibroids experience recurrence of fibroids, so demonstrating the durability of focused ultrasound is important.
Our study does this by examining rates of subsequent surgery for fibroid tumor symptoms and other key outcomes such as uterine shrinkage. Finally, our study demonstrates that the more completely you treat the fibroids, the better the outcomes are."
Evidence indicates that this novel technology, in the hands of experienced care-giving teams, is an effective, durable treatment for uterine fibroid tumors that safely produces sustained relief of symptoms, Dr. Stewart says.