Diagnostic imaging, general care

Enhanced MR-guided focused ultrasound improves treatment of uterine fibroids

17 May 2007

San Diego, USA. Recent studies show that MR-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) is a more effective treatment option for a broader population of uterine fibroid sufferers.

In a poster presented at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) annual meeting in San Diego, Phyllis Gee, M.D. of the North Texas Uterine Fibroid Institute in Plano, Texas, showed that women undergoing MRgFUS experience rapid and sustained relief from their condition and have a reduced need for alternative, invasive treatments in the future.

GE and InSightec, a company that develops non-invasive therapy systems, developed the world’s first magnetic resonance (MR) image guided focused ultrasound system. InSightec’s ExAblate 2000 system, approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in October 2004, works exclusively in combination with GE’s Signa MR system to non-invasively treat symptomatic uterine fibroids.

"These findings further underscore the utility of MRgFUS as a long-lasting, non-invasive option for the millions of women suffering from uterine fibroids,” said Dr. Gee. “With these expanded treatment guidelines, we are able to successfully treat more of the tumour and virtually eliminate the need for future hysterectomies.”

Additional data presented at ACOG this week by David Lee, Ph.D., Senior Director, Health Economics and Outcomes Research, GE Healthcare, showed that clinically significant uterine fibroids are common among women in their prime working years and are associated with several debilitating co-morbid conditions.

The research also showed that uterine fibroid treatments impose substantial direct and indirect costs on employers, and that nearly one in three women treated surgically for uterine fibroids experiences an adverse event.

“These new data suggest that uterine fibroids impose a substantial clinical burden on women, and a tremendous economic burden on employers. MRgFUS holds the promise of lessening this burden by offering women a non-invasive treatment option for this debilitating condition,” said Dr. Lee.

About uterine fibroids

According to the US National Institutes for Health (NIH), uterine fibroids are the most common, non-cancerous tumours in women of childbearing age and the second most common reason reproductive women undergo surgery. Uterine fibroids, the cause of more than 200,000 hysterectomies every year, have no known cause and only a few treatment options, also according to NIH.

According to a report by RAND Corporation, an international non-profit research organization, direct costs associated with treating uterine fibroids are more than $1 billion annually.

Traditionally, treatment options for uterine fibroids have included invasive and minimally invasive procedures such as hysterectomy, myomectomy or uterine artery embolization (UAE). Hormonal therapy, the only non-invasive treatment available, offers only temporary relief of symptoms, and fibroids frequently grow back once therapy is terminated.

Further information on The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) annual meeting: www.acog.org/acm/ 

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