Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a treatment option for fibroids – News Block

What are uterine fibroids?

Uterine fibroids are benign growths of the uterus.

Fibroids can be found:

  • A bulge from inside the uterus (submucosal)

  • In the muscular wall of the uterus (myometrium)

  • Extending outside of the uterus (serous)

About 8 out of 10 women will have fibroids at some point in their lives.

Most women with fibroids have no symptoms and do not need treatment. But women who need treatment have medical and surgical options. One type of surgical treatment is radiofrequency ablation.

What is RFA?

RFA is a surgical procedure performed under general anesthesia that uses heat to destroy fibroid tissue.

Laparoscopic RFA is a minimally invasive procedure that is performed with a laparoscope, a thin tool with a camera on the end. This allows the doctor to see the uterus and find out where the fibroids are.

The doctor makes two small cuts in the belly button and in the lower part of the stomach. Then, they insert small instruments to shrink the fibroids using heat and energy (ablation).

Where is the RFA held and who does it?

A gynecologist typically performs the procedure on an outpatient basis, and patients typically go home within a couple of hours of surgery.

Who are the best candidates for RFA?

RFA is recommended for people with symptoms who want to keep their uterus.

People with “mass symptoms,” which cause the uterus to enlarge, are the best candidates.

Bulk symptoms include:

  • bladder pressure

  • Frequent urination or not being able to urinate

  • lower back pain

  • Constipation

  • heavy menstrual bleeding

How can you prepare for the FRG?

  • Ask a surgeon how often they perform these types of surgeries. Try to find one who frequently performs gynecologic surgery.

  • Get a biopsy before RFA.

  • If recommended, have an ultrasound or MRI before RFA.

  • Make sure your Pap and HPV tests are up to date.

  • Make sure you are not pregnant.

  • If you have an IUD (intrauterine device), remove it before surgery.

What can you expect during RFA recovery?

You may feel ready to return to work and activities in 4 to 7 days.

During the first few days after surgery, you may experience:

  • Exhausted

  • Fever

  • Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) Symptoms

  • little appetite

  • Low energy

  • Pain

You should not put anything in the vagina for two weeks after surgery.

Many patients find that RFA is effective in getting rid of their symptoms within 3-6 months.

What are the risks of the RFA?

All surgical procedures carry some risk of complications from anesthesia, as well as risk of infection, blood clots, and bleeding.

Laparoscopic RFA is a low-risk procedure. But the risks can include:

  • Injury to the bladder, intestines, or other organs near the uterus

  • Cramps and vaginal discharge after surgery.

  • New fibroids appearing and need treatment

  • Possible complications in future pregnancies

This resource was created with the support of Hologic.

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