MRI Focused Ultrasound For Fibroids

by Marcelle Pick, OB/GYN NP

MRI–guided ultrasound ablation for fibroids

MRI-guided high-intensity ultrasound (MRgFUS), otherwise known as high–intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU),  has become a wonderful new addition developed as a noninvasive treatment modality for uterine fibroids. MRgFUS/HIFU actually uses high-intensity focused ultrasound beams to heat and obliterate the fibroid tissue. This leaves the nearby tissues undamaged with a minimal number of reported side effects, as well as very little down time for recovery.

So far, MRI-guided thermal ablation by focused ultrasound is documented to show limited success in long-term resolution of fibroids. It remains in the investigational stages and is only available in a few locations and most often this is a self-pay procedure. Insurance companies don’t cover this procedure as it is still considered experimental. The FDA has approved one type of technology for this (ExAblate) as a premarket application that is only for women who have finished childbearing.

However, a number of women have reported excellent success with this specific technique as a noninvasive alternative to a hysterectomy, as to date we don’t have very many noninvasive alternatives. The hope is that as time goes by, MRI-guided ultrasound technology will become perfected and its accessibility will become more widespread.

For the meantime, if you’re interested, you might want to visit the website for more information. Of great importance here is that you be sure that you seek medical treatment only at a center where the providers are skilled in this technique.