Sandhya Dhure (51) had been suffering from uterine fibroids for the past five years. They made her monthly menstruation cycle a nightmare with heavy bleeding and abdominal cramps. Surgically removing her uterus was one way of relieving her of the fibroids, but Dhure didn’t want to go under the knife.
Instead, she opted for a new treatment that got rid of the fibroids without any cut on her abdomen. “The treatment did not hurt at all and I was back on my feet and resumed work the same day,” said Dhure, a public relations assistant.
The novel treatment, called the Magnetic Resonance Guided Focused Ultrasound Surgery, was launched at the Jaslok Hospital in south Mumbai on Tuesday.
The treatment involves using high-frequency ultrasound waves to destroy benign tumours in the uterus. The doctors use MRI scan to locate the fibroids and then deliver ultrasound waves to destroy the tumor during a three-hour OPD procedure.
“The ultrasound waves don’t cause blood loss and don’t damage surrounding tissues. The patient can resume normal activity the next day,” said Dr Shrinivas Desai, director of imaging and radiology.
The treatment costs between Rs 60,000 and Rs 1 lakh. Around 10 women have been treated for uterine fibroids using this treatment at Jaslok in the past month as part of a pilot treatment.
“Uterine fibroids affect 15-20 per cent of women in the child-bearing age group. With the focused ultrasound surgery, younger women with fibroids don’t have to worry about infertility that’s caused by a hysterectomy (uterus removal),” said Dr Rishma Pai, gynaecologist at Jaslok.
A section of doctors pointed out that the treatment cannot prevent recurrence of fibroids.
“The ultrasound waves shrink the fibroid and help it dissolve into surrounding tissue, but it’s never fully removed from the body. There are chances it can recur,” said Dr Kiran Coelho, gynaecologist at Lilavati Hospital.
Clinical trials are also underway to determine whether this treatment works for breast and prostrate cancer.