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Published:  November 13, 2012

St. Luke's Episocpal Hospital First In United States To Treat Uterine Fibroids With New High Intensity Focused Ultrasound

St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital (SLEH) is one of five centers in the United States to have a new, second-generation MR-guided High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) system for investigation of the use of HIFU for the treatment of uterine fibroids. Today, St. Luke’s became the first center in the United States to non-invasively treat a patient with uterine fibroids using this technology.

MR-HIFU procedure may expand the scope of treatment for women suffering from fibroids by giving them a non-invasive alternative compared to conventional treatment options, such as uterine artery embolization, myomectomy or hysterectomy.

The study combines two leading technologies - magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and high HIFU. The MRI-guided HIFU is an outpatient procedure offering patients a quicker recovery and no radiation or anesthesia with fewer side effects than treatments currently available. Patients are conscious during the procedure and are discharged from the hospital in approximately four hours.

The study is led by John H. Fischer II, MD, an interventional radiologist at SLEH, Robert Zurawin, MD, a gynecologist with Baylor College of Medicine and Raja Muthupillai, Ph.D., director of diagnostic imaging research at SLEH, all who have been instrumental in bringing this new therapy to SLEH and advancing MRI from a diagnostic modality into the therapeutic arena. Patients in the study must meet two primary criteria?under the age of 50 and have fibroids of reasonable size that impact their quality of life. Patients who still desire fertility or pregnancy are not candidates for this study.

“MRI-guided HIFU is an exciting new technology with unlimited potential in treating a variety of ailments, including uterine fibroids,” said Dr. Fischer. “It has the potential to revolutionize the treatment of fibroids by offering another less invasive treatment option for many women, allowing the patient to return to normal activities in a day or two, without the use of radiation or the potential effects of general anesthesia. The research team and I are very excited to be a part of the study.”

Fibroids occur in 20 to 50 percent of women who are 30 years and older and can cause severe bleeding, pressure, bloating, frequent urination and in some cases, infertility. Estimates indicate that of the 600,000 hysterectomies performed annually in the United States more than half are performed because of fibroids.

For more information about this clinical research, contact Debra Dees, RN or Brenda Lambert, RN at 832-355-7501.

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