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Hysterectomy Alternative - Radio Frequency Energy Used to Shrink Fibroids in New Minimally Invasive Procedure

Montefiore Medical Center First Hospital in U.S. to Perform Procedure After FDA Approval

NEW YORK (March 14, 2013) -- Montefiore Medical Center has become the first hospital in the United States to use Radio Frequency Ablation to shrink uterine fibroids in women since the procedure was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration late last year. This minimally invasive procedure, initially used to treat liver cancer, uses a tiny needle that emits a low-energy electrical current directly to the fibroid to destroy it.

“About a third of all women suffer from fibroids, which can cause excessive menstrual bleeding and pain,” said Scott Chudnoff, M.D., director of gynecology at Montefiore. “This minimally invasive procedure can avoid the need for a hysterectomy and provide women with a new option that preserves the uterus.”

Fibroids are benign tumors that grow in the uterus. They are the most common tumor in the reproductive years and are two to three times more common among African-American women. Symptoms can include heavy or painful menstrual bleeding, a feeling of pressure in the pelvis, frequent urination, pain during intercourse, abdominal bloating and back ache. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fibroids are the leading cause for hysterectomies, which are the most common surgical procedures for women after cesarean section. More than 200,000 hysterectomies are performed in the United States each year because of fibroids.

Before this procedure was developed, treatment involved cutting through layers of healthy tissue to gain access to the fibroids, or removing the uterus completely. Radio frequency ablation allows the surgeon to treat only the fibroids, while preserving normal function of the uterus. Patients typically go home the same day with little pain and are back to regular activities within five days.

Montefiore was one of 12 medical centers in the nation to test the new procedure and Dr. Chudnoff was one of the key clinical researchers who studied the procedure during the clinical trial.