What is Focused Ultrasound?
Before MR-guided focused ultrasound was approved by the FDA in October 2004, women’s options for non-invasive treatment of uterine fibroids were limited. Now focused ultrasound offers a non-surgical, outpatient procedure that has helped to relieve fibroid symptoms and enabled many women to return to normal activity in one or two days.
Focused ultrasound combines magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with focused high intensity ultrasound waves. High intensity focused ultrasound, often called HIFU, and MRI techniques have been utilized separately for years, yet their combination has allowed for advances in treatment potential due at least in part to the powerful imaging capablities of MRI. Magnetic resonance imaging gives the physician a 3-dimensional view of the uterus and fibroids. It also provides real-time feedback about the temperature and tissue changes that occur as each fibroid is treated. High intensity sound waves are focused on individual fibroids much like a magnifying glass focusing the sun’s rays – only the focal point is hot enough to cause cell death.
Requiring no incision, no hospital stay, and allowing a rapid return to family or work, focused ultrasound offers women with symptomatic uterine fibroids a treatment option worth considering. More than 9,000 patients have been treated around the world since 2004.
Focused Ultrasound is an Approved Fibroid Treatment
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the ExAblate 2000 System, a medical device that uses magnetic resonance image guided focused ultrasound to target and destroy uterine fibroids. FDA expedited review of the device because it offers significant advantages over existing treatments for uterine fibroids.
In depth information about focused ultrasound treatment for uterine fibroids is available at the Focused Ultrasound Foundation’s Uterine Fibroid page.