Women health

Can uterine fibroids be removed without surgery?

A total of 100 women with uterine fibroid and adenomyosis – two common gynecological disorders among Nigerian women – have been able to get complete relief from their symptoms without having to endure invasive surgery.

At the Nordica Fibroid Care Centre in Lagos, the groundbreaking state-of-the-art method is known as High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound, or HIFU, was used to achieve the milestone.

On the 9th of July 2021, the first procedure was performed at the Centre, which is the only one of its kind in West Africa and the third in Africa after Egypt and South Africa.

Dr Abayomi Ajayi, the Medical Director/CEO of the Centre, said the centre formally opened its doors to deliver the first in class, non-invasive therapy in the management of uterine fibroids – HIFU – at a press conference to commemorate the milestone.

"We've done 100 successful treatments since we opened our doors in July of last year, and we're still counting." One hundred women have had the chance to have fibroids and adenomyosis removed, which may have characterized their lives before the treatment."

From the clinic in Lekki, Ajayi stated that they had treated ladies from various walks of life from all over Nigeria. What happens if large fibroids are not removed?

"Every time a woman comes into our facility with fibroids or adenomyosis and departs a few hours later free of the pain of her condition, we are overjoyed."

"The relief we see on their faces gives us joy that the investment we've made in this area of uterine fibroid management is bringing relief to our women folk who would otherwise be afraid of open surgery and may have decided to live their lives with the pain, discomfort, and blood loss, and we've saved many women from the risk of blood transfusion, anesthesia, and lost man-hours at work."

"The HIFU treatment is performed using a specialized Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or MRI, a machine that generates sound waves focused on a specific part of the fibroid. It's similar to focusing the sun's rays on a sheet of paper to start a fire with a magnifying glass. The beams are targeted on a specific tiny portion of the fibroid in HIFU, with no effect on neighboring tissues."

The 100th treatment, according to Ajayi, was a call to action. "It means we're dedicated to working relentlessly to ensure that more women have access to HIFU technology for fibroids treatment."

"It's a call to action for us to reach out to more women in Nigeria and the West African sub-region to encourage them to use HIFU to improve their lives."

As part of Nordica's commitment to continual professional development, he said plans are in the works to broaden access for medical physicians to be trained in the use of HIFU technology. We've invited interested doctors to apply for this specialized training so that they can join a worldwide workforce of highly skilled professionals. The better for patients and our healthcare system, the more doctors who are trained.

"By the time we celebrate our 200th treatment, we feel Nigeria will have made a substantial contribution to the global effort to manage fibroid care through non-invasive approaches."

Going down memory lane, Ajayi stated that the road to the Centre's opening was not simple. "COVID-19 had caused a backlog of logistical and shipping issues all over the world, so we had to wait a long time for the equipment to arrive, and we had a serious backlog of products to clear at the Nigerian ports, which was still another obstacle to overcome."

"Covid had given a serious blow to our foreign currency rate regime by the time we were preparing to start operations." The long ascent had begun.

"In effect, most everything might have conspired to keep this dream from becoming a reality, but I feel that our perseverance and God's grace made it possible despite all obstacles."


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