NovaSure vs UFE for Heavy Menstrual Bleeding

What Is NovaSure?

NovaSure is an endometrial ablation procedure that is performed on women to help reduce or stop heavy menstrual bleeding. This procedure uses radiofrequency to burn the lining of the uterus and is not reversible. NovaSure is best performed for bleeding NOT caused by uterine fibroids, although it is unfortunately commonly performed in these women. This is because the NovaSure procedure does nothing to the fibroid. Statistics show that endometrial ablation will lighten heavy bleeding in most women and some women will no longer menstruate at all.

Who Is A Candidate For the Procedure?

Premenopausal women with menstrual cycles that are abnormally heavy or long-lasting and do not wish to become pregnant in the future. It is also preferable that patients do not have an underlying structural cause for their bleeding (e.g. fibroids, adenomyosis). Also, women should not have an underlying condition such as cancer or uterine infection.

What Are The Side Effects Of NovaSure?

Possible side effects after NovaSure or any endometrial ablation procedure include:

  • Cramping;
  • Mild pain;
  • Nausea;
  • Vomiting;
  • Bloody or watery type discharge that can last up to 60 days.

What Are The Risks Of NovaSure Endometrial Ablation?

The risks associated with endometrial ablation are:

  • Perforation of the uterus;
  • Sepsis;
  • Infection;
  • Bleeding;
  • Injury to nearby organs.

How Is The NovaSure Procedure Performed?

The procedure is performed under local or general anesthesia. The cervix is dilated and then a mesh device that is the shape of a triangle is inserted into the uterus. The mesh expands until it shapes the inside of the uterine lining. Electrical energy is then dispersed through the mesh for a minute and a half. The device is removed and the procedure is concluded.

Uterine Fibroid Embolization in Atlanta, GA

How Quickly Will The NovaSure Procedure Stop Heavy Bleeding?

Although every woman is different, typically after 3 months you and your doctor will have an idea of what your menstrual cycle is going to be like on an ongoing basis. Some women never have another period after a uterine ablation.

Is The NovaSure Treatment A Permanent Solution For Heavy Bleeding?

Although uterine ablation is long-lasting to help with excessive monthly bleeding, it is not always permanent.

Can I Get Pregnant After NovaSure?

After the NovaSure procedure, the chance of becoming pregnant is significantly reduced however, it can still happen. Becoming pregnant after a uterine ablation procedure like NovaSure is very dangerous for both the baby and the mother. The uterine lining is an integral part of fetal development and sustaining a pregnancy. Uterine ablation is recommended only for women who no longer wish to become pregnant.

Is NovaSure A Treatment Option For Adenomyosis?

No! Adenomyosis is when the lining cells infiltrate the muscle deep into the lining. This obviously makes the involved area thicker and ablation is designed for a thin, superficial burning. The result of ablation in adenomyosis patients is similar to peeling off a scab which exposes a raw, bleeding surface underneath. This is why the bleeding is often worse post-ablation and ablation should be avoided in these patients.

Are There Reviews For NovaSure?

Most women who were treated with NovaSure are pleased with their results but there are many stories available that speak unfavorably about uterine ablation. In a February 2020 article in Med Page Today titled “Doctors “Back Away” From Quick Fix For Heavy Periods”. Dr. Ronald Sancetta, MD, an OB/GYN in private practice in Miami stated:

“You can eliminate the need for hysterectomy in many cases,” Sancetta said. “You don’t have the risks or dangers of a hysterectomy.” But he also told MedPage Today that he stopped using NovaSure after seeing too many failures and switched to a different system.

There were other doctors referenced in the article that also have reservations regarding uterine ablation as a solution for heavy menstrual bleeding.

NovaSure vs UFE for Abnormal Bleeding

If the heavy bleeding is due to uterine fibroids, a Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) procedure has proven to be a much better treatment option. Uterine fibroids are the most common pelvic tumor in women and range in size from a green pea to bigger than a pumpkin. They are the most common reason for heavy bleeding, but often cause other significant symptoms (e.g. pelvic and lower back pain, increased urinary frequency, painful sex) which are not addressed at all by ablation.

Unlike the NovaSure uterine ablation process, UFE does not affect the uterine lining and numerous children have been born after UFE. An article in ScienceDaily outlines the results of a study on women with fibroids who were infertile. Almost half of the women in the study had at least 1 pregnancy after UFE. For 85% of these women, it was their first child.

NovaSure does absolutely nothing to the fibroids present in the uterus and therefore, ablation should be reserved for women with abnormally heavy bleeding that is not due to structural causes like uterine fibroids.

Both procedures are considered minimally invasive, and non-surgical, can be done in an outpatient facility or hospital, and patients can return home the same day. NovaSure is performed by an OBGYN and UFE is done by an Interventional Radiologist like Dr. John Lipman and Dr. Mitchell Ermentrout of the Atlanta Fibroid Center.

If you suffer from heavy bleeding, breakthrough bleeding, or prolonged bleeding every month, contact the Atlanta Fibroid Center for a consultation.

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