Thermachoice Endometrial Ablation
In-Office Balloon Endometrial Ablation for Heavy Bleeding
Video credit: © ETHICON, INC. Provided with Permission.
How do I know if I have heavy bleeding?
Heavy bleeding is usually defined as bleeding that is disruptive to your life. If you are soaking pads and changing them often, usually in less than an hour, or you are having embarrassing bleeding accidents, then you may be a candidate for the Thermachoice Ablation. If you feel lightheaded or fatigued during your period, are passing clots, are having pain or cramping with your period, or your period is lasting longer than 7 days, Thermachoice endometrial ablation may be a solution for you.
What is an endometrial ablation?
The endometrium is the lining that builds up in the uterus on a monthly basis in preparation for a pregnancy. When that lining is excessive or hormonal irregularities cause more build up of lining, you can have heavy or irregular periods. An endometrial ablation is a procedure that cauterizes or destroys all or part of this lining and improves bleeding since less tissue develops.
Why Thermachoice Balloon Endometrial Ablation?
Dr. Martinez extensively researched all the different options for in-office endometrial ablation. She does other types of endometrial ablation in the hospital. For in-office treatment, Dr. Martinez felt that the safety profile of the Thermachoice balloon, which has been around the longest, was the best. In addition, due to the narrow diameter of the Thermachoice Balloon which requires less dilation of the cervix (the opening to the uterus), she found that there was less pain associated with the Thermachoice balloon. The Thermachoice balloon can treat different sizes and shapes of cavities and is also approved to treat bleeding when there are small fibroids present in the uterus. Dr. Martinez has been doing in-office endometrial ablation since 2007.
Who is not a candidate for endometrial ablation?
If you want to have more children, you are not a candidate for an ablation. Endometrial ablation is not a contraceptive method; however, it would not be recommended if you do want children as it may prohibit conception. If you have any abnormality of the tissue in the uterus, you would not be a candidate, thus we do an endometrial biopsy, a small sampling of the lining of the uterus, prior to the procedure. There may be other causes for your bleeding that would not be treated optimally with the ablation. Dr. Martinez would assess this at your consultation visit.
What complications are associated with the Thermachoice ablation?
There is some cramping during the procedure, but this is usually very tolerable. Often patients will state it is similar to their menstrual cramping. Risks are bleeding, infection, injury to the uterus, failure of the procedure to control bleeding. If you have had a previous tubal ligation, there is a small risk for a condition called post-tubal ablation syndrome. This is caused by scarring in the lower in the uterus that blocks passage of some blood at the top of the uterus.. This can lead to a condition called hematocolpos, or blood in the uterus, which can cause pain. Often, treatment for this is simply to place a sound (metal dilator) in the uterus to break up some scar tissue in order to allow a passage for the blood, however, if this does not work, hysterectomy might be necessary. Dr. Martinez will discuss all potential complications of the procedure at your consultation visit.
What other alternatives do I have for treating heavy bleeding?
There are hormonal alternatives such as oral contraceptives and the Mirena IUD. . Hysterectomy is a treatment that is definitive for bleeding and Dr. Martinez specializes in all types of Laparoscopic Hysterectomy.
How painful is the procedure, how is it done, and what is the down-time?
Most women describe the cramping during the Thermachoice procedure as similar to their menstrual cramps and is very tolerable. If you are uncomfortable at the start of the procedure, Dr. Martinez would give you additional medication to make you comfortable.
For the procedure, we give you both oral and an injectable pain medication. Fifteen minutes prior to the procedure Dr. Martinez injects a local anesthetic block around the cervix. After she makes sure you are comfortable, Dr. Martinez places a small camera, a hysteroscope, inside the uterus to assess the uterine cavity. Then she inserts the Thermachoice Balloon device into the uterus and fills the balloon with a sugar water solution. The introducer for the device has a heating element that heats the sugar water up to 87 degrees Centigrade which you do not feel as heat as there are no heat receptors in the uterus. Under pressure and heat during the 8 minute treatment cycle, the lining of the uterus is cauterized. After the procedure, Dr. Martinez looks back inside the uterus with the hysteroscope.
We recommend that you take the day following the procedure off of work, but you can resume normal activity after that. You will need to have someone drive you to and from the office for your procedure.
Is the procedure covered by insurance?
Yes, most insurances cover the Thermachoice Balloon Ablation.
What is the success rate of the Thermachoice Balloon Endometrial Ablation?
The success rate at optimizing heavy bleeding is approximately 90%. In studies of the women who have had the procedure, at one year, 90% of women or more were happy with the results and did not want additional treatment. Successful ablations result in no bleeding in approximately 30% of patients and the remainder have very light to normal periods following the procedure.
Please call our office today to schedule your Thermachoice consultation at 505-988-4922.
“Its been seven months (since my Thermachoice procedure) and my bleeding and tapered off tremendously to almost nothing. On a scale of 1 to 10, my level of discomfort was only a 3 and my recovery was very comfortable. Would I recommend this procedure to family and friends? Yes, yes, yes!” - Brenda
“I highly recommend (the Thermachoice procedure) and I have sent you a total of three ladies for the procedure, and we are all happy campers.” - Judy
“The results (of the Thermachoice procedure) was much better than I thought. I have a much lighter period with no bleeding through my clothes at all. I have saved a small fortune in personal products! I would definitely recommend this to others” - Karen