HEALTH SPOTLIGHT: Painful Uterine Fibroids May Be a Thing of the Past

Health First offers Brevard’s most integrated, comprehensive gynecological services

Drs. Aimee Tieu and Robert Hartmann stand on either side of the Acessa uterine fibroids radiofrequency ablation device and between Hologic (the company that sells Acessa) company representatives Keith Weeks and Taylor Eson (in purple scrubs). (Health First image)

Health First’s Viera Hospital now offers radiofrequency ablation to eliminate this common, uncomfortable condition – with a quick recovery.

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Uterine fibroids aren’t something to ignore – especially considering at least 50% of all women and 70% of African-American women develop them by the age of 50. The condition can be pretty painful, and treatment options – traditional surgery such as a hysterectomy – can take four to six weeks from which to recover.

That doesn’t have to be your story, though.

For the first time in Brevard County, Health First’s Viera Hospital now offers radiofrequency ablation, commonly known as Acessa, to treat this painful condition.

All Health First Medical Group providers performing the new treatment are women and, according to Dr. Paula Miner, a gynecologist with Health First Medical Group, “this minimally invasive procedure is going to advance female healthcare in Brevard.”

“There are so many women out there who have fibroids who haven’t been treated because they haven’t had an option that’s been acceptable to them,” said Dr. Miner.

“The procedure is performed in the hospital under anesthesia, and only three small incisions are made, one in the belly button, a little one just over the pubic bone for an ultrasound that locates the fibroids and a third for the radiofrequency probe. The probe is inserted into the fibroid and little arms are deployed that apply energy to shrink the fibroid.” 

The uterus is made of muscle fibers. A fibroid forms when one of those muscle fibers divides on its own and becomes a muscle ball inside of the uterus. The fibroids have their own blood supply, so they make the uterus bigger. When the uterus sits on the bladder, it can cause pelvic issues. Fibroids also take on more blood flow, which can make periods heavier.

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The Acessa procedure does not remove the fibroid; it shrinks the fibroid down to 50% of its original size. This significantly decreases the blood supply to the fibroid, curing the patient’s symptoms, including heavy bleeding, pelvic pressure, urinary frequency and urgency, and incontinence. 

Following the procedure, 94% of patients treated report being cured of their fibroid symptoms. 

“As gynecologists, we have been looking for an option like this for patients for years, and having Acessa now opens up the possibility of treatment for uterine fibroids that does not involve an invasive surgery and long recovery,” said Dr. Aimee Tieu, Medical Director of Health First’s Women and Children service line, who performs the new procedure at Viera.

“Because of the risks with a hysterectomy, many times, patients do not elect to have surgery until their fibroids are extremely large when they no longer have a choice due to extreme bleeding or debilitating symptoms.”

Uterine fibroids aren’t something to ignore – especially considering at least 50% of all women and 70% of African-American women develop them by the age of 50. The condition can be pretty painful, and treatment options – traditional surgery such as a hysterectomy – can take four to six weeks from which to recover.

A hysterectomy with large fibroids at this stage carries significant risks, and Dr. Tieu sees this as a huge advancement for women to get their fibroids effectively treated prior to this stage, preventing a risky surgery.

The recovery time from Acessa is about five to seven days compared to the much longer recovery time from a surgical myomectomy, which is removing the fibroid, or a hysterectomy, which removes the uterus.

The Acessa ProVu system was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2019.

Health First offers Brevard County’s most integrated, comprehensive gynecological services to treat women’s healthcare concerns. Dr. Vanessa Dance and Dr. Aimee Raup are also part of the Gynecology team treating uterine fibroids with this new procedure in Brevard County.

To learn more about gynecological services offered at Health First, or to schedule an appointment, visit HF.org/Women.

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