News | January 06, 2010

Radiofrequency Ablation Used to Shrink Fibroids

January 6, 2010 - Montefiore Medical Center recently became the first hospital on the East Coast to conduct radiofrequency ablation to shrink uterine fibroids in women 30 years and older.

This minimally invasive procedure, initially used to treat liver cancer, uses a tiny needle that is inserted into the fibroid, applying low energy radio frequency electrical current, which creates localized tumor destruction by heat.

"More than 30 percent of all women suffer from fibroids, which can cause excessive menstrual bleeding and pain," said Erika Banks, M.D., director of the Fibroid Center at Montefiore and lead investigator of the study. "This procedure is another option for these women who wish to preserve their uterus -- an important advantage of this minimally invasive procedure."

Fibroids are benign tumors, which grow in the uterus. Fibroids are the most common tumor in the reproductive years, and are 2-3 times more common among African American women. Symptoms include heavy and or painful menstrual bleeding, a feeling of pressure in the pelvis, frequent urination, pain during intercourse, abdominal bloating and abdominal pain and/or back ache.

Montefiore is one of only five medical centers in the U.S. to test this procedure. The other centers are in California, Arizona, Michigan and Missouri. This study is currently enrolling women with fibroids and heavy bleeding who no longer desire fertility.

Treatment of 235 fibroid tumors in 70 women outside the U.S. resulted in significant reduction of symptoms and improvement in quality of life for about 90 percent of women.

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