UK HealthCare

Incisionless procedure offers relief for uterine fibroids

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The University of Kentucky Public Relations and Strategic Communications Office provides a weekly health column available for use and reprint by news media. This week’s column is by Mark R. Hoffman, M.D., an OB-GYN at UK HealthCare and professor of obstetrics and gynecology in the UK College of Medicine.

Lexington, Ky. (Oct. 23, 2023) — Uterine fibroids, noncancerous tumors that develop in the uterus, are very common. Most of the time, fibroids do not cause any symptoms or problems, but some women may experience:

  • Heavy menstruation requiring more than 10 pads or tampons each day
  • Periods lasting longer than a week
  • Pain or pressure in the pelvic area
  • Frequent or difficult urination
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Constipation, bloating or abdominal swelling

While the exact cause of fibroids is unknown, genetics or changes in hormones can contribute to the growth of fibroids.

Traditionally, fibroids are treated with minimally invasive procedures such as hysterectomy or myomectomy, but a new, less invasive procedure may be an option for those seeking relief.

Transcervical fibroid ablation (TFA) is a minimally invasive alternative to a hysterectomy or myomectomy. The fibroids are treated inside the uterus, so there are no incisions or scars. The Sonata System, used in TFA, combines real-time ultrasound imaging with targeted radiofrequency ablation. One by one, the fibroids are targeted and reduced in size, preserving the healthy uterine tissue and providing quick, long-lasting relief.

TFA can be used to treat almost all symptomatic uterine fibroids. This brief, outpatient procedure preserves the uterus and does not require an incision or anesthesia. Patients can return to work and activities the next day, much sooner than with traditional surgically invasive procedures.

Patients with periods lasting longer than seven days, heavy periods that impact everyday activities, or who feel pain and pressure in their abdomens should consult their doctor about their treatment options.

UK HealthCare is the hospitals and clinics of the University of Kentucky. But it is so much more. It is more than 10,000 dedicated health care professionals committed to providing advanced subspecialty care for the most critically injured and ill patients from the Commonwealth and beyond. It also is the home of the state’s only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, a Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit that cares for the tiniest and sickest newborns, the region’s only Level 1 trauma center and Kentucky’s top hospital ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

As an academic research institution, we are continuously pursuing the next generation of cures, treatments, protocols and policies. Our discoveries have the potential to change what’s medically possible within our lifetimes. Our educators and thought leaders are transforming the health care landscape as our six health professions colleges teach the next generation of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other health care professionals, spreading the highest standards of care. UK HealthCare is the power of advanced medicine committed to creating a healthier Kentucky, now and for generations to come.