Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Uterine Fibroids Health Center

Font Size

Ultrasound Approved to Treat Uterine Fibroids

New Device Offers Alternative to Surgery for Treatment of Uterine Fibroids

WebMD Health News

Oct. 25, 2004 -- A new device that uses sound waves to destroy uterine fibroids may offer an alternative to surgery for some women who suffer from the bleeding and painful condition.

The FDA approved the new device, known as the ExAblate 2000, for the treatment of uterine fibroids in women after an expedited review process because it offers significant advantages over existing treatments for uterine fibroids.

About 20%-40% of women over 35 develop uterine fibroids. Much of the time these noncancerous growths in the uterus do not cause symptoms or require treatment. But in some cases, the size and location of growths can cause heavy menstrual periods; pain in the back, legs, or pelvis; pressure on the bowels or bladder; and miscarriage.

Treatments for uterine fibroids include hormone therapy, surgical removal of the growths while leaving the uterus intact, or a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus). However, many women seek alternatives to these therapies because they want to have children or do not wish to have their uterus removed despite having completed childbearing.

Researchers say the ExAblate 2000 system offers a noninvasive alternative to surgery that leaves the uterus intact.

However, the device is not intended for use by women who wish to become pregnant. Researchers say the procedure may alter the composition and strength of the uterine tissue, and the effects of treatment on the ability to become pregnant and carry a baby to term have not been determined.

New Treatment for Uterine Fibroids

In approving the ExAblate 2000, the FDA reviewed clinical studies of the device's safety and effectiveness conducted by the manufacturer, InSightec Ltd.

The treatment combines two systems for treatment of uterine fibroids. First, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) creates a map of the area to be treated and monitors the temperature of the uterine tissue. Then, a focused ultrasound beam heats and destroys the fibroid tissue using high frequency sound waves.

The treatment requires repeated targeting and heating of all fibroid tissue while the patient lies inside an MRI machine, which may take up to three hours.

In a study conducted by the manufacturer, researchers used the ExAblate system to treat 109 women with uterine fibroids at seven medical centers around the world and compared the results with those of 82 women who had hysterectomies.

Today on WebMD

uterine fibroid illustration
Symptoms and treatments.
uterus and ovary
Is location in the uterus a factor?
doctor holding model of female reproductive system
Surgical options for fibroids.
pregnant woman
Can complications occur?
Period Cramping Your Style
uterus and inlay of fibroids
estrogen gene
Comparing Birth Control Pill
woman sitting on floor in pain
woman looking at ultrasound
Teenage girl with heat pad on stomach
woman exercising

WebMD Special Sections