Focused ultrasound treatment of uterine fibroid tumors: safety and feasibility of a noninvasive thermoablative technique

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2003 Jul;189(1):48-54. doi: 10.1067/mob.2003.345.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine the safety and efficacy of focused ultrasound surgery with magnetic resonance imaging guidance for the noninvasive treatment of uterine leiomyomas.

Study design: Fifty-five women with clinically significant uterine leiomyomas were treated. Pain and complications were assessed prospectively, and posttreatment magnetic resonance imaging was used to measure the treatment effects. Patients in three of the five centers underwent planned hysterectomy after treatment, which provided pathologic correlation of treatment.

Results: Seventy-six percent of the enrolled patients completed the full treatment session. All treatments were conducted in an outpatient setting with minimal discomfort for subjects and no major complications. Pathologic examination of the uterus confirmed that magnetic resonance imaging guidance provides the safe and accurate delivery of effective levels of thermal energy with a 3-fold increase in volume of histologically documented necrosis, compared with treatment volume (6.6 +/- 0.8 vs 18.4 +/- 3.9 mL, P <.005).

Conclusion: Magnetic resonance imaging-guided focused ultrasound surgery appears to be a well-tolerated treatment for uterine leiomyomas.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analgesia
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / administration & dosage
  • Benzodiazepines / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hysterectomy / adverse effects
  • Leiomyoma / pathology
  • Leiomyoma / therapy*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain
  • Prospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasonic Therapy* / adverse effects
  • Uterine Neoplasms / pathology
  • Uterine Neoplasms / therapy*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Benzodiazepines