Halt Procedure May be an Alternative to Hysterectomy in the Treatment of Uterine Fibroids
January 27, 2010
By Stephanie Lachapelle for Fibroids1
It is estimated that 70% of women are affected by uterine fibroids, but new radiofrequency ablation technology may offer an alternative to hysterectomy.
Uterine fibroids are benign tissue growths in the uterus. Fibroids are usually asymptomatic, but some can grow as large as a grapefruit, causing back, abdominal and pelvic pain, bloating and very heavy menstrual bleeding, and may interfere with other organs. Presently, standard treatment is a hysterectomy, a procedure which removes the entire uterus. Because of the invasiveness of this radical procedure, interest in alternative therapies is high.
Radiofrequency ablation is a minimally invasive technique that uses a needle-like device to heat the fibroid with low frequency electrical current. This technique, called the Halt procedure, begins with the insertion of a laparoscopic camera into the abdomen to visualize the abdomen. An intra-abdominal ultrasound probe is inserted through a second incision to determine the size and location of the fibroids. A third incision, only three in total, is used to insert the Halt device. The device burns the cells, which are later reabsorbed by the body. This is an outpatient procedure, but does require general anesthesia.
Presently, the FDA has approved radiofrequency ablation for treatment for liver and lung tumors, and a phase-three clinical trial is in effect to gain approval for uterine fibroids. The goal of the study is to determine whether the procedure is effective in reducing heavy menstrual bleeding and whether the technique holds promise to improve the quality of life for those suffering from uterine fibroids.
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