Myolysis is a treatment for uterine fibroids (noncancerous tumors in the inner or outer uterine lining) that involves the use of a laser to coagulate (clot) the blood supply to the fibroid, blocking further blood flow and causing the fibroid to shrink and eventually die.
It is not unusual for women to develop uterine fibroids in the few years before menopause, and for a majority of these women, uterine fibroids are harmless and may go completely unnoticed. But some women experience pain or other complications as a result of uterine fibroids, which may include: dysmenorrhea (painful menses), dyspareunia (pain during sexual intercourse), digestive problems or urinary problems due to pressure on the digestive or urinary tract, abdominal pain and bloating or swelling, back pain, and irregular or heavy menstrual bleeding. If these symptoms occur, they could warrant treatment of the fibroids with surgery or other means.
Myolysis is one of the less invasive options for the treatment of uterine fibroids. It is generally recommended for smaller fibroids, but not as helpful for larger ones. The treatment is not usually recommended for patients who hope to have children, because it can cause serious pregnancy complications; these can be dangerous to both mother and child, such as uterine scarring and infection.
During the treatment, a patient is given anesthesia and then a medical instrument called a laparoscope is inserted into the uterus. Next, a laser or high frequency electrical current is administered to the fibroid itself, which acts to cut off the blood supply to the fibroid without doing the same to the surrounding tissue. Once the blood supply to the fibroid is cut off, the fibroid ceases growing, shrinks, and eventually dies.
Another method of uterine fibroid treatment, called cryomyolysis, utilizes a similar technique, but instead of a laser or electrical current, liquid nitrogen is used to freeze the tissue. This also causes it to stop growing and shrink to a less disruptive size.
After the treatment, which takes about an hour, patients are kept for observation for a few hours, and then released the same day. After the procedure, patients may experience pain, tenderness or cramping in the abdominal area. For some, it will be intense enough to require pain medication. Most patients are advised to take time off from work and normal activities for a few days following the procedure.
Last updated: 06-Jun-07