They can lead to heavy menstrual bleeding, pain, fatigue and sometimes pregnancy loss. But women affected by uterine fibroids often suffer in silence, says Dipak Delvadia, DO, an obstetrician and gynecologist (OB-GYN), and assistant professor in Drexel’s College of Medicine.
“It can be an embarrassing condition,” Delvadia said. “Some women have called it their ‘hemorrhage cycle.’”
Fibroids are mostly benign, muscular tumors that grow in the wall of a woman’s uterus. They can affect up to 80 percent of women by the time they reach age 50, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, though not all who are affected have symptoms.
Mild symptoms can be helped with medication, but treatment options are scarce for those suffering from abnormal bleeding that can be debilitating. A hysterectomy—a major surgery to remove the uterus—is sometimes the only option for women with severe symptoms. A less invasive procedure called endometrial ablation poses risks for women who wish to have children after surgery.
At Hahnemann University Hospital, Delvadia and Assistant Professor Minda Green, MD, are testing a new, minimally invasive procedure to give women relief. The system, developed by women’s health care company Gynesonics, Inc., is called Sonography-Guided Transcervical Ablation (Sonata). Unlike surgery, the outpatient procedure accesses the uterus without any incisions, so there is no scarring and minimal recovery time. The system uses sonography to locate, target and shrink individual fibroids using heat.
Drexel Medicine is one of 25 medical sites throughout the country—and the only one in Eastern Pennsylvania—participating in the clinical study to test the new procedure. Delvadia successfully treated Philadelphia’s first participant in the study this fall, and Drexel Medicine is currently recruiting other patients.
Since the clinical trials are only in their beginning stages, it will take time to assess whether the heat energy can effectively shrink fibroids and reduce symptoms. Professor Carl Della Badia, who serves as an educator for the clinical study and has extensive experience treating fibroids, said this is the most promising treatment he has seen to date.
“I think this could revolutionize the treatment of fibroids, especially for women who want to have children, and did not have treatment options in the past,” he said.
For more information about participating in the clinical trial call 215.762.7442 or take a pre-screening questionnaire.
Members of the media interested in speaking with Delvadia should contact Lauren Ingeno at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215.895.2614.