MRgFUS for Treating Fibroids
Magnetic resonance-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) is a non-invasive procedure in which ultrasonic pulses are used to heat and destroy uterine fibroids. Learn what this procedure involves, how it treats fibroids, and whether or not it may be an appropriate option for you.
What to expect from the MRgFUS process
Prior to the procedure, the targeted area on your body will be shaved, and you can request a mild sedative before entering the MRI machine. The MRI targets your fibroid(s), and the ultrasound pulses heat and destroy the fibroid tissue while sparing healthy surrounding tissue. MRgFUS involves no incisions and leaves no scars.
The procedure takes about three hours, is usually performed in an outpatient setting, and has few common side effects. Patients typically make a full recovery in a few days, though individual time frames depend on a variety of personal, health, and environmental factors.
Magnetic resonance-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) to treat uterine fibroids.
Image from Weill Cornel Medicine
Who is a good candidate for MRgFUS?
MRgFUS is a safe and viable option for many fibroid patients, but it’s not for everyone. It is specifically not advised for those who:
- Are pregnant
- Have pacemakers, neurostimulators, or other metallic implants
- Are too frail to withstand the treatment, or to lie in one position for three hours
- Have congestive heart failure or other heart conditions, or have experienced a recent heart attack
- Have excessive skin scarring
- Have excessive amounts of subcutaneous fat in the targeted area
Make sure to provide your doctor with a thorough medical history, and speak with them about any factors that could affect your health and safety during or after this procedure.
Potential complications of MRgFUS
Though complications are rare, it’s important to be aware of them. They can include:
- Skin burns,
- Sciatic nerve injury,
- Abdominal wall swelling,
- Deep vein thrombosis, and
- Bowel/Intestine injury.
Various precautions are taken to minimize the potential for such events. Also keep in mind that MRgFUS does not prevent new fibroids from developing.
Possible side effects of MRgFUS
Following the MRgFUS procedure, some patients have experienced:
- Temporary irritation of the sacral nerves behind the uterus,
- Vaginal discharge, and/or
- Soreness or inflammation in the tissue in front of the uterus (about 10% of patients).
The majority of patients who undergo MRgFUS have few, if any, side effects, and heal within a few days.