In 2002, Dr. Bruce B. Lee first described a laparoscopic technique to ablate symptomatic uterine fibroids utilizing radiofrequency under ultrasound guidance. Since this time, several papers have documented the procedure’s feasibility and efficacy, including reduction in menstrual blood loss, fibroid volume decrease, and improvement in quality of life.
In a randomized, prospective, single-center, longitudinal study that compared laparoscopic radiofrequency volumetric thermal ablation (RFVTA) of fibroids with laparoscopic myomectomy, Dr. Sara Y. Brucker and her colleagues concluded that RFVTA resulted in the treatment of more fibroids, a significantly shorter hospital stay, and less intraoperative blood loss than did laparoscopic myomectomy (Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2014 Jun;125:261-5).
Dr. Charles E. Miller
More recently, in the literature and at the 2015 American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists (AAGL) Global Congress in November, viable, full-term pregnancies have been reported in patients previously treated for symptomatic fibroids via RFVTA (J Reprod Med. 2015 May-Jun;60[5-6]:194-8).
The system for performing RFVTA of symptomatic fibroids – the Acessa System (Halt Medical) – has continued to improve. Earlier this year, Dr. Donald I. Galen described the use of electromagnetic image guidance, which has been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration and incorporated into the Acessa Guidance System. Dr. Galen’s feasibility study showed that the guidance system enhances the ultrasonic image of Acessa’s handpiece to facilitate accurate tip placement during the targeting and ablation of uterine fibroids (Biomed Eng Online. 2015 Oct 15;14:90).
In this edition of the Master Class in Gynecologic Surgery, Dr. Jay M. Berman discusses the use of RFVTA for the treatment of symptomatic uterine fibroids. Dr. Berman is interim chairman of Wayne State University’s department of obstetrics and gynecology and interim specialist in chief for obstetrics and gynecology at the Detroit Medical Center. He served as a principal investigator of the pivotal trial of Acessa and has reported on reproductive outcomes. Dr. Berman has long been interested in alternatives to hysterectomy for fibroid management and has incorporated RFVTA into his armamentarium of therapies.
Dr. Miller is a clinical associate professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and a past president of the AAGL and the International Society for Gynecologic Endoscopy (ISGE). He is a reproductive endocrinologist and minimally invasive gynecologic surgeon in private practice in Naperville and Schaumburg, Ill.; director of minimally invasive gynecologic surgery and the director of the AAGL/Society of Reproductive Surgery fellowship in minimally invasive gynecologic surgery at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, Park Ridge, Ill.; and the medical editor of this column, Master Class. Dr. Miller reported that he is a consultant for Halt Medical Inc., which developed the Acessa System.