Focused Ultrasound Therapy
Focused ultrasound is a rapidly evolving, noninvasive, therapeutic technology with the potential to improve the quality of life and decrease the cost of care for patients with endometriosis. This novel technology focuses beams of ultrasound energy precisely and accurately on targets deep in the brain without damaging surrounding normal tissue.
How it Works
Where the beams converge, focused ultrasound produces precise ablation (thermal destruction of tissue) enabling endometriosis to be treated without surgery.
Focused ultrasound is already being used to treat adenomyosis (growth of endometrial tissue in the uterine wall). When endometrial tissue grows on organs outside of the uterus (endometriosis), focused ultrasound may be considered as an alternative treatment. This is still very early work, but the positive preliminary results are encouraging.
Dr. Gil Dubernaud and his team in France investigating focused ultrasound for treatment of deep infiltrating endometriosis – one of the most common and symptomatic types of endometriosis – which involves the bowel 8-12% of the time. Conventional treatment options for this condition include colon resection or rectal shaving. Dr. Dubernaud’s team is using transrectal focused ultrasound to treat the rectal or sigmoid endometriotic nodules.
The primary option for treatment of endometriosis is surgical excision, although there are some medications which have also been used.
For certain patients, focused ultrasound could provide a noninvasive alternative to surgery with less risk of complications – such as surgical wound healing or infection – at a lower cost. It can reach the desired target without damaging surrounding tissue and is repeatable, if necessary.
A clinical trial by Dr. Dubernaud and colleagues in France is organizing and will be treating rectal endometriosis using transrectal focused ultrasound.
Regulatory Approval and Reimbursement
Focused ultrasound treatment for endometriosis is not yet approved by regulatory bodies or covered by medical insurance companies.
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