Ultrasound-guided HIFU more advantageous in treating uterine growths

Pank Jit Sin
24 Aug 2021
Ultrasound-guided HIFU more advantageous in treating uterine growths

The ultrasound-guided high-intensity focused ultrasound (USgHIFU) has an edge over the magnetic resonance-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) in treating adenomyosis and uterine fibroids.

USgHIFU offers real-time imaging, which enables the doctor to look at the tissue while doing the procedure. Secondly, USgHIFU uses a larger and more powerful transducer than MRgFUS, which shortens the duration and increases the efficacy of the treatment. Additionally, USgHIFU offers greater accessibility to patient and flexibility in patient positioning, making patients feel more comfortable as opposed to MRgFUS which needs to be carried out in an MRI cavity. Due to savings in hospital stay and reduced complications, a procedure performed using USgHIFU is also less costly than conventional surgery. Mahkota Medical Centre, Malacca, claimed to be the first medical facility to introduce USgHIFU for the treatment of adenomyosis and fibroids. Speaking at the announcement ceremony, Dr S. Selva, an obstetrician and gynaecologist, and a reproductive medicine specialist, said: “HIFU procedure is a game changer as it will be able to provide a solution that mitigates the scarring and the fertility impact patients may face in typical treatments for fibroid and adenomyosis removal. Additionally, this noninvasive state-of-the-art technology will also benefit patients with a short recovery duration, allowing them to return to their daily routine in no time.”

Selva added: “USgHIFU treatment session ranges between 1 to 4 hours and in most cases, the treatment can be done in a single session. Only patients with multiple or large diameter fibroids may require several sessions. It is also worthwhile to note that patients will not have any blood loss during the procedure, hence eliminating the need for blood transfusions. HIFU also reduces the risks of potential complications that may arise from surgeries to remove adenomyoma or uterine fibroids. Most importantly, patients who wish to get pregnant do not have to wait for their uterus to heal completely before trying to conceive. They can resume having sexual intercourse after completion of the next menstrual cycle. Studies have shown successful pregnancy within months after HIFU treatment for fibroids either by natural pregnancy or assisted reproductive treatment.”

The HIFU technology makes use of focused sound energy to heat and destroy targeted tissues in a controlled manner. For now, HIFU technology is indicated for treatment of uterine fibroids and adenomyosis. Worldwide, the technology is being used to treat a variety of medical conditions, including kidney stones, cataracts, neurological disorders, benign thyroid nodules, prostate diseases, solid tumours, as well as in palliative care. However, Selva said the indication for HIFU technology will only be expanded in Malaysia once there are enough trained healthcare professionals.

Also speaking at the announcement ceremony, Chin Wei Jia, group chief executive officer of Health Management International Pte Ltd, said: “As a medical centre that prioritizes high-quality medical services, we strive to find new ways to deliver improved outcomes for the best interest of our patients. The introduction of HIFU service brings us one step closer to enhancing our patients’ journey towards achieving greater outcome. Ultimately, we are committed to continue keeping up with the latest trends in the industry by bringing in many more state-of-the-art facilities to offer the finest care for our patients.

Ed: Ultrasound imaging uses sound waves to produce pictures of the inside of the body, while MRI uses magnetic fields. Additionally, these sound waves can also be used to heat or ablate tissue, although lower frequencies and continuous, rather than pulsed waves are used to achieve the necessary thermal doses.

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