Medical Q&As

Endometrial ablation - instead of hysterectomy?

I would appreciate information on endometrial ablation for the treatment of fibroids as an alternative to a hysterectomy.

Endometrial ablation is a technique that involves eradicating the endometrium or lining of the womb. It is used as an alternative to hysterectomy in the treatment of troublesome heavy bleeding. The procedure involves the insertion of an instrument called a hysteroscope into the uterus or womb. The instrument is introduced through the vagina and is passed through the cervix into the womb thereby eliminating the need for an abdominal incision. The hysteroscope has a video link to a TV screen, which allows the gynaecologist to inspect the interior of the womb. It is then possible to eliminate the endometrium through the use of a heat-generating device. If fibroids were present at the surface of the inner wall of the womb they can sometimes be removed at the time of ablation. However, if they were located deeper within the wall of the womb they would need to be removed by other means. It is important to realise that endometrial ablation is not a specific treatment for fibroids but rather is a treatment for troublesome bleeding arising from fibroids. In other words the procedure does not eradicate the fibroids. That being said the procedure may be all that needs to be done in certain cases. You would need to discuss this matter further with your gynaecologist in order to establish if endometrial ablation alone would be sufficient treatment in your case.