New England Journal of Medicine Article Recommends Focused Ultrasound as Treatment Option for Women with Uterine Fibroids

Foundation Urges Payers to Reimburse for Treatment

Article ID: 633601

Released: 30-Apr-2015 10:00 AM EDT

Source Newsroom: Focused Ultrasound Foundation

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - April 30, 2015 - A Clinical Practice Review, published in the April 23 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine by Mayo Clinic Ob/Gyn Elizabeth Stewart, MD, recommends focused ultrasound as an important uterine-conserving treatment that should be an option for women with symptomatic uterine fibroids.

The article emphasizes that despite the high prevalence of fibroids, exceeding 80% among black women and nearly 70% of white women, there are few randomized trials to guide treatment decisions. While concern has been raised regarding overuse of hysterectomies -- which account for nearly three quarters of all fibroid procedures – the article discusses several alternatives for women who want to retain their uterus and do not want to undergo the potential complications and recovery time associated with surgery.

In a press release by the Mayo Clinic, Dr. Stewart states that, “Uterine-conserving therapy should be an available option for women even if there is no plan for childbearing.” She continues to say that “although myomectomy, a surgical procedure to remove uterine fibroids, is the traditional alternative to hysterectomy, there are other options for medical and interventional treatment.”

The article contains an algorithm for managing fibroids, with focused ultrasound included as a treatment for women with symptoms relating to an enlarged uterus whether or not they are planning to get pregnant in the future.

Focused ultrasound is a completely non-invasive FDA-approved treatment for fibroids, which uses high intensity sound waves to heat and destroy the fibroid while leaving the surrounding uterine tissue intact. It is an outpatient procedure that involves no incisions and enables many women to return to normal activity in one or two days. The first focused ultrasound system was approved in the US in 2004, and the treatment has been successfully performed on more than 12,000 women with fibroids worldwide.

“Women suffering from fibroids deserve access to treatments like focused ultrasound that enable them to get back to their lives as quickly as possible,” said Neal F. Kassell, MD, chairman of the Focused Ultrasound Foundation. “Unfortunately, widespread adoption of this highly desired therapy has been limited by insurance companies. We believe that the body of evidence supports the technology and hope that this publication -- as well as Health Quality Ontario’s recent recommendation of focused ultrasound as a safe, effective and cost-effective treatment strategy -- will lead payers to reimburse for this non-invasive treatment option that is being recommended by top Ob/Gyns for their patients.”

About The Focused Ultrasound FoundationThe Focused Ultrasound Foundation was created to improve the lives of millions of people worldwide by accelerating the development and adoption of focused ultrasound therapies. The Foundation educates women on fibroid treatment options through their program Fibroid Relief. The Foundation is dedicated to ensuring that focused ultrasound finds its place as a mainstream therapy for uterine fibroids, cancer, brain tumors, Parkinson's disease, epilepsy, and other life-threatening conditions within years, not decades. Since its establishment in 2006, the Foundation has become the largest non-governmental source of funding for focused ultrasound research. More information about the Charlottesville, Virginia based Foundation can be found at www.fusfoundation.org.


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