Uterine fibroids are benign growths (tumors) in the uterus also called leiomyomas or myomas. Fibroids can cause a variety of symptoms including significant pain, mild to moderate discomfort, or no symptoms whatsoever. Many women develop these fibroids during their childbearing years, but they are most common in their 40s and 50s. Fibroids can vary in size, from something as small as a seed, to so large that it creates a visible bulge in the abdomen (though this is uncommon). Fibroids tend to shrink after menopause. Because of their prevalence and the often-significant associated symptoms, novel and minimally invasive treatments have been developed to address these fibroids.
The Symptoms of Uterine Fibroids
Particularly large fibroids or multiple fibroids can cause significant symptoms that include:
- Longer periods
- Heavier periods
- Bleeding or spotting between periods
- Pelvic and low back pain
- Excessive or frequent urination
- Problems with pregnancy
- Pain during intercourse
The Evolution of Fibroid Treatment
The treatment for symptomatic uterine fibroids has benefitted from incredible technological advances, so much so that we can now often offer alternatives to a hysterectomy and other traditional surgeries. One such advanced treatment is known as Sonata, a procedure that employs ultrasound guidance and advanced radiofrequency technology to deliver targeted heat therapy to the fibroid. The procedure boasts exceptional safety and effectiveness while minimizing downtime and side effects.
Sonata is FDA-approved to treat fibroids in various locations and sizes, giving many women a new choice in their treatment. Sonata also treats most fibroid types, including submucous, intramural, transmural, and subserous. Further, due to the incisionless technology used with Sonata, patients can often leave on the same day and recover quickly. In fact, according to Gynesonics, the manufacturer of the device, it takes an average of just over two days to return to regular activity, and about 50% of patients were back the next day. Other interesting results from the Sonata Pivotal IDE trial showed that 95% of patients reduced their bleeding at 12 months, and about 94% of patients were happy with their treatment after three years.
How Sonata Is Performed
Under sedation (not general anesthesia), a specialized, handheld device is passed through the vagina and cervix and up to the uterus. We can then map the uterus and visualize the fibroids within it using advanced ultrasound technology. Once we locate the fibroids to be treated, targeted heat therapy known as RF ablation is used to ablate or destroy fibroid tissue, making it shrink and allowing it to be absorbed by the body over time. Patients will begin to feel progressive relief over several weeks and should expect to experience the full benefit of the procedure at around three months.
What Are the Risks and Considerations of Sonata?
Since Sonata is an incision-less procedure, there are fewer risks than a traditional surgical procedure to address fibroids; however, this does not mean that the procedure is risk-free. There are inherent risks of the sedative used during the procedure. Some patients may also experience bleeding, spotting, cramping, discharge, or inflammation after the procedure. These effects are usually transient and can be managed by our office during your follow-up. There’s also the consideration that RF ablation does not offer immediate relief. The fibroid shrinkage can take up to three months, at which point you will experience the full benefits of the procedure. With that said, Sonata is well tolerated and very safe. Fortunately, due to the minimally invasive nature of the procedure, having a Sonata procedure does not preclude you from having other therapies to treat existing or new fibroids in the future.
Does Insurance Cover Sonata?
Every policy is different, and as such, we encourage you to contact our office to understand if insurance may cover your Sonata treatment. Since the procedure is relatively new, not all insurance companies or plans may offer coverage. We will be able to provide you with guidance on any costs you may incur. You may also call your insurance company to verify your benefits directly.
Are There Other Uterine Fibroid Treatment Options?
While many women will benefit from the Sonata procedure, you can be confident that the multi-specialty team at Florida Medical Clinic is there for you. Dr. Gerard Jackson and our team of gynecologists and surgeons offer a range of safe and effective treatment options for uterine fibroids depending on your condition and your insurance coverage.
Free Yourself from Uterine Fibroids
Hysterectomy is NOT your only option.
Sonata offers an incision-free option for treating uterine fibroids and their symptoms that can change your life!REQUEST AN APPOINTMENT
Dr. Gerard Jackson and his team at Florida Medical Clinic understand how disruptive symptomatic uterine fibroids can be. We want to assure you that you don’t have to live with the pain and discomfort of this condition. However, the first step toward relief is scheduling a consultation with our office for a complete evaluation and definitive diagnosis.
About Dr. M. Gerard Jackson
Dr. Jackson is a leading gynecological specialist serving patients from our Wiregrass location and our new Watergrass location opening this summer. Originally from Destin, FL, he attended medical school at University of South Florida and subsequently completed a residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at West Virginia University. He specializes in general and surgical gynecology to address pelvic pain, endometriosis, and uterine fibroids.
Dr. Gerard Jackson’s goal is to give every one of his patients the ability to live a pain-free lifestyle by using the most advanced, safe, and effective gynecological treatments available today.
Disclaimer: This blog is not intended to substitute professional medical advice. Talk with your doctor before starting or stopping medications or treatments.