You should let your doctor know if you are allergic to certain medications or contrast agents to avoid any type of reaction to the procedure. You and your doctor will also decide what type of sedation works best for you. Most doctors use conscious sedation, which means you are awake during the procedure but you may feel groggy.
How do I know if I am eligible for treatment?
Your doctor is the best person to ask about this. He or she will be able to tell you if you are a suitable candidate for the ExAblate treatment. In general, people who cannot go into an MRI will not be able to have the ExAblate treatment - this includes patients with metallic implants, patients who are claustrophobic, and patients who are allergic to contrast agent, a dye used to see blood vessels during MR imaging.
Women planning pregnancies should consult with their physicians before having the ExAblate treatment.
The effects of ExAblate on the ability to become pregnant and carry a fetus to term, and on the development of the fetus, have not yet been determined. A special diagnostic MRI will give the doctors the information they need about size, number and location of the fibroids and allow them to tell you if it's a good treatment option for you.
What are the benefits of ExAblate?
- Completely non-invasive - no surgery and no blood loss
- No hospital stay
- Effective alternative to surgery and hormonal treatment
- Significant improvement in your quality of life
- decrease in menstrual bleeding from symptomatic fibroids
- decrease in urinary dysfunction, pelvic pain and/or pressure
- Preserves the uterus and cervix
- Quick return to normal activities
What risks and complications are associated with ExAblate?
Overall, MRgFUS is a safe procedure for treating symptomatic myoma (fibroids) with minimal risk. Infrequent complications that have been reported following MRgFUS are listed below. You should talk to your doctor about the likelihood that you may experience any of these risks.
- Back or leg pain that persists for a few days
- Mild skin burns (rarely)
- Abdominal pain/cramping, nausea and/or fever
- The treatment may be successful in reducing the symptoms from the fibroids that are treated, but at a later time, more fibroids may become symptomatic, requiring additional treatments. This is true for all fibroid treatments, except hysterectomy
- There is a risk that the treatment may not be successful and you may require an alternative treatment therapy to improve your symptoms
If you have any questions concerning risks and complications of the procedure, you should discuss them with your doctor.
After the ExAblate procedure, what will happen to me?
MRgFUS is performed as an outpatient procedure that takes between 3-4 hours. Following the treatment you will rest for an additional 1-2 hours until the sedation wears off. After that you will be released and can go home.
What happens when I go home?
You will receive individualized discharge instructions from your doctor. Usually nothing is required, although the doctor may recommend over-the-counter pain relief medication. Occasionally women may experience some cramping, similar to menstrual period cramping or shoulder/back pain from lying in the treatment position.
Most women are able to return to work and normal activity the day after the procedure.
After the ExAblate treatment, who will provide my post procedure care?
It is important that you discuss with your doctor who will handle your follow-up care. Arrange follow-up phone calls and/or office visits for after the procedure. You should also know whom to contact in case of an emergency after your procedure. This is especially important if you experience foul-smelling vaginal discharge that increases over time and lasts more than 24 hours, fever, or pelvic pain.