June 2, 2008 - GE Healthcare and InSightec Ltd. said today that a new study suggests that women with clinically significant uterine fibroids (UF) have poorer health status and more associated health conditions than their counterparts.
The study, which appears in the June issue of Fertility and Sterility notes that nearly half a million insured women are living with clinically significant UF and may be living with other debilitating healthcare conditions including anemia and endometriosis.
“Uterine fibroids and the conditions associated with them not only have a negative impact on hundreds of thousands of women, they also place a significant burden on the healthcare system,” said David Lee, Ph.D., senior director, Health Economics and Outcomes Research, GE Healthcare and lead investigator in the study. “Many women choose to suffer rather than undergo highly invasive procedures such as hysterectomies.”
According to recent data, almost 60 percent of women with UF in the U.S. opted to undergo surgical treatment, despite emerging evidence of the relative merits of alternative options. An estimated 443,000 insured women in the U.S. have clinically significant uterine fibroids, and the study set out to profile the women who chose to undergo treatment.
The results of the study demonstrate that women with clinically significant UF had significantly poorer health status than those without. According to data noted in the study, the treatment of uterine fibroids is resource-intensive, with an estimated $2.2 billion direct cost to insurance companies. Much of the costs incurred are associated with hysterectomy, the most common treatment of UF.
The ExAblate is reportedly the only noninvasive surgical treatment available for uterine fibroids today. The system received FDA approval in 2004. It’s the first system to use the breakthrough magnetic resonance (MR) image guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) technology that combines MRI – to visualize the body anatomy, plan the treatment and monitor treatment outcome in real time – and high intensity focused ultrasound to thermally ablate tumors inside the body noninvasively. MR thermometry, provided by the system, allows the physician to control and adjust the treatment in real time to ensure that the targeted tumor is fully treated and surrounding tissue is spared.
Over 4000 symptomatic women have been treated with the ExAblate with up to 36-month follow-up and lately, after expanding the treatment guidelines, 92 percent reported symptom relief after treatment.