What is MRI-guided Focused Ultrasound (MRgFUS)?
MRgFUS is a non-surgical treatment for uterine fibroids. It was FDA approved in October 2004, and the Atlanta Interventional Institute is the only hospital-based center in Georgia to offer MRgFUS. Currently, there are two types of patients that are being treated with MRgFUS. The first are patients with symptomatic fibroids. The most common symptoms are heavy bleeding, pelvic pain, and increased urinary frequency. The other type of patient is a woman who has no symptoms from fibroids, but is unable to get pregnant or keep from miscarrying due to a central fibroid. We are enrolling patients in a FDA clinical trial called the Fertility Enhancement Trial. It is a randomized trial to compare surgical myomectomy vs. MRgFUS. It is well known that surgical myomectomy diminishes a woman’s fertility. It is hoped that MRgFUS will not, and hence a woman’s fertility would be enhanced (i.e. resulting in higher pregnancy rates and completely avoiding surgery) for those treated in this fashion.
The MRgFUS procedure uses ultrasound waves (much more powerful than those used for diagnostic imaging) which are focused to a small spot about the size of a jellybean. There is enough energy in that spot to destroy the fibroid while leaving all the healthy tissue outside the fibroid unharmed. Many jellybean sized spots are used to treat the entire fibroid. During the procedure, Dr. Lipman uses MRI images to plan, guide, and receive feedback on the treatment progress. He is able to “see” inside the body and perform this fibroid treatment in a completely noninvasive manner.
The video below shows an animated view of how MRI-guided Focused Ultrasound works