High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) for Uterine Fibroids

With medical advancements, there are now fresh approaches that patients can opt for. The High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) for Uterine Fibroids treatment is one of those that has risen in recent years as it provides candidates who are not suitable or do not want surgery an alternative solution to remove the growths. It is also a solution for those with concerns about how surgery would affect their ability to conceive or bear children.

About High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU)

HIFU is a new technology used for the treatment of uterine fibroids as well as adenomyoma and adenomyosis. ​The procedure uses focused high energy ultrasound waves to generate localised heat energy at temperatures above 55°C to destroy uterine fibroids. It is a non-invasive and organ-sparing procedure that does not damage the uterus. There is little downtime after HIFU treatment and patients can generally return to work and daily activities the following day.

Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous tumours that grow along or within the walls of the uterus. They are primarily made up of muscle cells along and small amounts of tissues. They can be of various sizes, from microscopic to more than 10cm in diameter. Fibroids can be found alone or in clusters and they are the most common type of benign tumours occurring in 25% to 50% of women during their reproductive years. 

Many women with fibroids do not experience any symptoms. However, symptoms can present itself based on the location, size and number of fibroids. You may have uterine fibroids if you experience heavy menstrual bleeding that lasts more than a week, pelvic pressure or pain, frequent urination, difficulty emptying the bladder, backache or leg pains.

Preparing for the procedure
You will need to abstain from sexual intercourse 3 days before treatment and required to remove any IUD devices present before the procedure.

You will be required to shave your pubic area fully and will have to prepare your bowels with an enema.

You are advised to consume a light diet low in vegetables and beans 3 days before the procedure and be on a liquid diet 1 day before the procedure. You will be required to fast 8 hours before the procedure.

You will change into a hospital gown before the procedure starts.

During the procedure
You will lie on your stomach on the treatment bed that slides into the opening on an MRI machine. A doctor will monitor and communicate with you from an adjoining room through a microphone.

Before treatment starts, MRI monitoring is first done repeatedly to ensure that the uterus remains in position above the transducer, in order to ensure that there are no interposed intestinal loops or other organs.

Using focused ultrasound waves, the fibroid is heated portion by portion. MRI is used to monitor the temperature of fibroid tissue and determine if the fibroid has been heated enough to achieve tissue necrosis.

After the procedure
You will rest in a recovery room and will have to lie prone for at least 2 hours after treatment. You will be able to go home when you feel better. Should you feel unwell, contact your doctor immediately or call our 24HR Emergency Clinic (65) 6705 2999.

Possible Postoperative Reactions
You may experience the following after the procedure:

  • Distending pain in treatment area, lower abdomen, sacrum area and legs; temporary weakness in the legs
  • Dizziness due to medication, low blood glucose level etc.  Have a good rest and a nutritious diet
  • Longer menstruation period after treatment (first and possibly second)
  • Redness of skin in treatment area
  • Secretions lasting about one week after treatment for patients with submucosal fibroids 
  • Estimated three months for symptoms to improve significantly

Benefits of HIFU

  • Computerised and non-invasive surgical procedure which does not require surgical incision
  • Focused ultrasound using an acoustic lens to concentrate multiple intersecting beams of ultrasound on a target
  • Minimal to no damage to surrounding healthy tissues  
  • May keep uterine function 
  • No loss of blood and no need for blood transfusion
  • Short treatment time 
  • Short recovery period 

For further information, consult your doctor or our panel of specialists below. Email your enquiries to [email protected]

Find out more about Farrer Park Hospital's HIFU unit here

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Associated Conditions

Adenomyosis Uterine Fibroids

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Dr. Fong Yoke Fai

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