Possibly Safer, New, Alternative Treatment for Condition Affecting Large Portions of Hispanic Women

January 26, 2015 by No Comments

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Last year, the Food and Drug Administration warned that morcellators, medical devices used to treat uterine fibroids, could increase the risk of spreading a rare type of cancer. Now, medical device manufacturer Boston Scientific has devised a new, safer, alternative system, which will allow doctors to perform minimally invasive fibroid removal without risking the spread of cancerous tissues.

Fibroids are tumors originating in the uterus, and are typically benign. They’re also extremely common. About 70% of Hispanic women actually develop them by the time they turn 50 years old. However, fibroids can sometimes lead to serious complications and risks, such as heavy menstrual bleeding, pelvic pain, and pelvic pressure. Depending on the size and location of the fibroid, one could even interfere with a woman’s fertility. Only about 20% of women will ever experience such symptoms or require treatment.

Morcellators are used to cut up these fibroids into smaller pieces that can then be extracted through small incisions during a laparoscopic procedure. Though morcellators have helped scores of patients, studies revealed last year that they could cause dangerous cancers to spread. When women with undetected cancerous tissues undergo mocellation, the dangerous tissues are unknowingly left behind, where they could seed other cancers throughout the body.

Since the FDA’s warning, health care practitioners have not been sure what they should do about morcellators. Some have simply stopped using them, while others call for an outright ban on the devices.

Now, there’s the “Symphion System,” which is an all-in-one surgical tool that includes fluid management, pressure monitoring, and a bladeless tool to remove uterine tissue. Using a suction mechanism, the Symphion System evacuates excised tissue, preventing it from escaping to another part of the body and increasing the chance of cancer spreading. According to the Boston Scientific press release, its first procedures were successful.

“The Symphion System expands our women’s health portfolio into hysteroscopy, an important treatment option for women suffering from the symptoms associated with fibroids and polyps,” said Boston Scientific’s president of Urology and Women’s Health Karen Prange in a press release. “The successful completion of these first cases in the U.S. demonstrates the potential for this novel technology to improve the lives of patients.”

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