HIFU for Fibroids *NEW*
High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound - A Non-invasive Treatment Option
What is HIFU Treatment for Fibroids?
HIFU is short for High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound. While it has been used in the field of aesthetics for quite awhile, HIFU technology can now be used in the treatment of fibroids and adenomyosis. HIFU in fact can be an alternative non-invasive, non-surgical treatment option for patients who are not suitable or not keen for surgery, if the patient’s condition is suitable.
It is done as a day procedure with little or no downtime after the treatment, allowing the patient to resume her daily activities almost immediately.
How does HIFU work on Fibroids?
HIFU uses real-time ultrasound and high-intensity ultrasound waves to generate localised heat to specifically target individual fibroids to destroy the cells. The broken-down cells then get absorbed or expelled by the body, which causes the fibroids to shrink overtime. This helps to relieve the unpleasant symptoms caused by the fibroids. Although it varies from patient to patient, it usually takes about 3 months on average for symptoms to improve significantly.
The image above shows the real-time monitoring during the HIFU treatment. The black area demarcates the fibroid and the white patch within it that expands indicates how much of the fibroid has been destroyed. This allows the surgeon better precision and control throughout the procedure.
What are the benefits of HIFU?
- Non-invasive, non-surgical procedure
- No incision which means no post-operative wounds and scars
- No blood loss and no need for blood transfusion
- Focused ultrasound minimises disruption and damage to surrounding healthy tissues
- Computerised procedure and real-time monitoring for precision and accuracy
- Short treatment time of about 2 hours
- No downtime after procedure
- Improvements in symptoms
What size of fibroids can be treated with HIFU?
Generally, fibroids that are 3 cm to 15 cm can be treated with HIFU. However, suitability for the treatment is dependent on the position, size and number of fibroids. A MRI is usually taken to determine these factors and if the patient is suitable for HIFU, an actual simulation of the procedure known as “Positioning” will be done before the treatment.
Who is Suitable for HIFU Treatment for Fibroids?
- Younger patients
- Those who are keen to conceive
- Those who wish to avoid surgery
- Those with Type 3 or 4 fibroids
Who is Not Suitable for HIFU?
- Those with fibroids that are located very close to the bowel loops, spine or where there is a lot of scar tissue or adhesions from previous surgery
- Those suspected to have malignant tumour
- Those with very large fibroids
- Those who have back problems and cannot lie prone for >1 hour
What to expect before and after each treatment session?
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Interested in HIFU?
HIFU is one of the recent technologies introduced for the treatment of fibroids without the need for invasive surgery. As an experienced gynaecologist who believes in minimally invasive techniques for improved health outcomes, A/Prof Fong is one of the few specialists in Singapore who has been trained in the HIFU procedure.