Uterine Fibroid Procedure

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For more information about Acessa or to schedule an appointment for consultation at gynecology department at Northwest Hospital, please call 410-650-0665.

The gynecology department at Northwest Hospital offers the Acessa procedure, a minimally invasive, FDA-cleared outpatient treatment for symptomatic fibroids of virtually all types and sizes within the uterine wall. It provides significant relief from pelvic pain, heavy periods and other related symptoms. Women can go home the same day of the procedure and resume normal activity within a few days.

Northwest is the first hospital in Maryland to offer this uterine-sparing procedure.

 Acessa Fibroid treatmentAcessa Fibroid treatment details

How it works

The Acessa procedure is a minimally invasive alternative to hysterectomy, myomectomy and uterine artery embolization for uterine fibroids. It uses radiofrequency ablation (heat) to inactivate and shrink fibroids, applying controlled energy through a small needle array.

Generally, only two small incisions are made; no cutting, suturing or removal of the uterus is required.

  • Laparoscopic ultrasound identifies the location and size of fibroids.
  • The tip of a handpiece is inserted via laparoscopic and ultrasound guidance, a mapping system helping to accurately target the center of the fibroids.
  • An electrode array is deployed, with laparoscopic and ultrasound guidance confirming that the electrodes remain within the fibroid.
  • The appropriate duration of ablation is determined and treatment is then applied. Any bleeding is controlled as the handpiece is withdrawn.

The procedure is performed while the patient is under general anesthesia. Normal uterine tissue surrounding the treated fibroid is unaffected and the destroyed tissue either shrinks or is completely absorbed over time. Women see the most improvement within 3 months with continued improvement throughout the first year.

Advantages

Hysterectomy (the most common fibroid procedure involving the removal of the uterus) and myomectomy (removal of fibroids) both involve major surgery with higher risks of complications such as bleeding, infection and pain, and a recovery period of 3 to 8 weeks may be required depending on the type of procedure performed. Women who undergo the minimally invasive Acessa procedure typically resume normal activity in 3 to 5 days with little to no pain.

About fibroids

A fibroid is a non-cancerous tumor that grows from the muscle tissue of the uterus.

There are four types of fibroids:

  • Intramural fibroids (the most common type of fibroids, developing within the wall of the uterus)
  • Subserosal fibroids (grow on the outside of the uterus)
  • Pedunculated fibroids (grow on stalks or stems)
  • Submucosal fibroids (can grow into the uterine cavity)

Symptoms

Fibroid symptoms, depending on the consistency, size and location of the fibroid, can include:

  • Heavy and painful periods
  • Stomach, abdominal, lower-back and pelvis pain
  • Stomach protrusion/bulking (causing women to look pregnant when they aren’t)
  • Anemia
  • Infertility
  • Painful sex
  • Urinary frequency
  • Gas and constipation

Some women experience severe pain and discomfort daily from their fibroids.

Frequently asked questions

Am I a candidate for this procedure?
Acessa is for pre-menopausal women (typically younger than age 55) with benign (non-cancerous) symptomatic fibroids. Acessa is not an appropriate treatment if you are at risk for cancer or malignancy.

Your physician will usually order imaging such as an MRI or ultrasound to assess the size and location of your fibroid (vitally important factors) to further determine if this procedure is right for you.

How long is the procedure?
The duration of each Acessa procedure is based on the amount and size of the fibroids. But typically, the procedure takes 90 to 120 minutes.

Is there a limit to the number or quantity of fibroids that can be treated?
Any number of fibroids present can be treated. The ability to treat more fibroids thanks to laparoscopic ultrasound image is an advantage of Acessa.

Is the Acessa procedure safe?
Yes. The Acessa procedure has been FDA cleared since 2012. It is clinically proven to be very safe.

Will there be external scars?
Generally, only two small incisions are made. The incisions typically do not leave scars.

Is the Acessa procedure covered by insurance?
Acessa is covered by many insurance carriers. You can call your insurance carrier and ask if laparoscopic radiofrequency ablation of uterine fibroids is covered under its policy.

Learn more/make an appointment

If you would like to learn more about the Acessa procedure or schedule an appointment for consultation at the gynecology department at Northwest Hospital, please call 410-650-0665.

If you are a new patient, you will be asked to complete paperwork either before your appointment or upon your arrival. Have your medical records available at the time you arrive for your appointment. Our experts will answer any questions you have and help you decide if Acessa is right for you.

About Dr. Dee-Dee Shiller

Dr. Dee-Dee Shiller is a board-certified gynecologist and osteopath.

She graduated from New York College of Osteopathic Medicine, where she was awarded and completed an undergraduate fellowship in osteopathic manipulative medicine. She completed her OB/GYN residency at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore.

Dr. Shiller was the founding director of the women’s wellness center at Northwest Hospital. She performs surgical procedures at Northwest and Sinai hospitals. Her areas of special interest are pelvic and sexual pain and minimally invasive surgery. She was the first robotic/minimally invasive GYN surgeon trained at Northwest Hospital (in 2009) and became the first surgeon in Maryland to offer the Acessa procedure.

Dr. Shiller also takes a holistic approach to treating a wide range of gynecologic conditions.