What is MRI guided HIFU?
It is Magnetic resonance image guided High Intensity Focused Ultrasound. The MRI helps in imaging and
monitoring the treatment, and the HIFU treats the fibroid by focusing sound waves at a high intensity into the tissues to heat and coagulate them. The high degree of precision involved ensures that apart from the tissue being treated, no other organs or tissues are damaged.
What is special about MRI guided HIFU?
It is non-invasive. That means no incisions or scars, and no associated pain either. It allows you to get back to your regular routine within 24 hours. So, there is no disruption in your daily activities, and you do not need to be dependent on others during this short recovery period. It is a safe procedure.
Is it really non-invasive? Not even a small cut?
Yes, it is completely non-invasive. No incisions or cuts, no scars. The sound waves leave the skin and other tissues intact, and coagulate tissues only at the point of focus.
What about the radiation?
Unlike X-rays or CT scans, neither MRI nor HIFU use any type of radiation. Hence there is no risk of exposure to radiation.
Will I have to undergo anaesthesia? I am scared about being knocked unconscious.
MRI guided HIFU is a relatively pain-free procedure, which means that you do not require any anaesthesia, and will be fully conscious during the treatment. No being knocked unconscious, no uncomfortable injections into your spine. At the most, you will be given a pain-killer to take care of any mild discomfort that may occur. You can even ask your near and dear one to sit with you during the procedure if you wish.
Will I be hospitalised?
As it is a walk-in and walk-out procedure, there is no hassle of admission and hospitalization. You need
to report to the hospital an hour before the treatment for preparation. You can walk out of the centre after the treatment, but we recommend that you stay in the recovery room for an hour or two after the procedure before you leave for home.
Can all types of fibroids be treated by MRI guided HIFU?
Almost all types of fibroids can be treated by MRI guided HIFU. However, persons with pacemakers or
metallic implants in their bodies cannot be treated if these are not compatible with the MRI. To get personalized information, please contact your nearest MRI guided HIFU centre.
How do I schedule a treatment?
Once you contact a MRI guided HIFU centre, you will be provided with detailed information about the
procedure, and you will be evaluated for suitability for the procedure. Your evaluation will include a MRI scan which will take around 15 minutes, and the doctor will then discuss the results with you and guide you regarding the next steps.
How soon will I get relief from my symptoms?
This depends on a number of factors including the size and location of the fibroid, as well as the severity
of the symptoms. Symptomatic relief can be observed from as soon as a few days after the treatment. Almost all patients report significant symptomatic relief within the first two menstrual cycles following the treatment.
What about recurrence?
Studies have shown that long-term symptomatic relief is comparable to that obtained from a surgery like myomectomy.
How does the fibroid disappear?
The fibroid tissue is heated and coagulated by HIFU. Over a period of time, the body removes the dead cells, causing the fibroid to gradually shrink in size over the next few months. However, symptomatic relief occurs much before this shrinkage can be observed, and is independent of the rate of shrinkage. Will MRI guided HIFU affect my uterus/ovaries or harm my chances of getting pregnant in future? MRI guided HIFU for uterine fibroid does not affect your uterus/ovaries or any other organs at all. Your chances of getting pregnant will not be harmed after this procedure.
The doctors say I am high risk for surgery and anaesthesia. Can I have a MRI guided HIFU done?
MRI guided HIFU can be safely performed in most cases that are unfit for traditional surgery and anaesthesia. Your case would need to be evaluated individually.
I am pregnant, and my fibroids have increased in size, and I am worried. Can I have a MRI guided HIFU done?
We do not recommend this procedure during pregnancy.