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About Radiofrequency Ablation

The surgeons at UC Irvine Health are experts in the use of Acessa, the first radiofrequency ablation device approved by the FDA for the treatment of uterine fibroids.

Ablation procedure

Radiofrequency ablation uses high-energy waves to destroy uterine fibroids. This method of treatment enables the surgeon to preserve the uterus.

The procedure is a minimally invasive, same-day procedure. The video below shows how simple and effective it can be:

If you choose to have your fibroids treated with radiofrequency ablation, you can expect the following:

  • Your surgeon will first map the uterus for fibroids. 
  • A small incision is made and the handpiece is inserted into the uterus. Small needles enter each fibroid and energy is applied.
  • The normal tissue in the uterus is not affected, while the destroyed tissue will be completely reabsorbed into the uterus.

Ablation FAQ

How safe is radiofrequency ablation?

The use of radiofrequency ablation to treat uterine fibroids has been shown to be very safe. In three separate clinical studies, complication rates were consistently less than 4 percent.

Your doctor will review all available therapies with you and discuss the risks and benefits of each.

What are the advantages of radiofrequency ablation?

The primary advantages of using radiofrequency ablation to treat uterine fibroids are:

  • Faster recovery and return to normal activity
  • Reduction in fibroid-related symptoms
  • Quality-of-life improvement
  • Low complication rates
  • Smaller incisions
  • Minimal scarring

Is the procedure painful?

Radiofrequency ablation is performed under general anesthesia, so you will not feel any pain during the procedure.

Afterward, you may experience mild abdominal pain. Your physician may prescribe pain medication.

How big will the incision be?

Radiofrequency ablation is a laparoscopic procedure. Laparoscopic surgery is often referred to as "band-aid" surgery because the incisions are so small. In most cases, there will be two incisions, both of which are 1/4 inch or less in length.

How long will I be in the hospital?

Radiofrequency ablation is done on an outpatient basis. Most patients go home when they have recovered from the anesthesia.

What are the chances I will need another procedure to treat fibroids?

In the largest clinical trial to date, the fibroid recurrence rate was less than 5 percent per year.

The chance that fibroids will grow back varies from person to person. However, because radiofrequency ablation uses ultrasound to identify and treat fibroids, your surgeon will be able to find and treat most, if not all, of them.

What is radiofrequency ablation?

Radiofrequency ablation involves the use of heat to destroy fibroid tissue.

It is a laparoscopic procedure involving two small incisions: one in the belly button and one in the skin over the uterus.

A lighted telescope is placed through the belly button incision, while an ultrasound probe is placed on the uterus, enabling the surgeon to see the fibroids clearly.

A long needle-like device is then inserted into a fibroid. When it is in the middle of the fibroid, heat is delivered until the entire fibroid is destroyed. The process is repeated until all of the fibroids have been ablated.

Each treated fibroid will shrink in size by about 40 percent within three months of treatment.

How do radiofrequency ablation and myomectomy differ?

Radiofrequency ablation uses heat to destroy fibroid tissue.

Myomectomy is a procedure in which the fibroids are removed from the uterus.

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