We have good news for those of you who may be interested in having MR-guided focused ultrasound treatment (MRgFUS) for uterine fibroids, but are unsure of the results you would get longterm. A study just published in the journal Academic Radiology shows positive outcomes up to three years following treatment.
In the study, 40 women with fibroids were treated with focused ultrasound, an incision-free therapy that uses the heat from sound waves to kill fibroid tissue. The researchers followed up with these women at three and six months, as well as one, two and three years. They found that the largest decrease in fibroid size occurred within the first six months and continued to happen over the three-year period. Note: Even though the fibroid reduction happens over time, women typically report an immediate change in the pressure and protrusion from the fibroid because the focused ultrasound turns the fibroid into a sponge-like material.
The researchers also found that the women had significant symptom and quality-of-life improvements during the three-year follow-up period. In addition, there were no minor or major complications related to the treatment.
As with any treatment other than a hysterectomy, there is a chance that, following MRgFUS, the fibroids can come back. In the study, 69 percent of the women saw no need for additional treatment. Nine patients did obtain additional treatment – a hysterectomy, myomectomy or uterine artery embolization (UAE or UFE). Interestingly, this retreatment rate is comparable to longterm studies on UAE, a minimally invasive procedure that blocks the blood supply to the fibroids.
We hope that this information helps empower you as you make a decision about what treatment might be best for you.