Laparoscopic Ultrasound in Fibroid Treatment

What is Laparoscopic Ultrasound?

Source: Halt Medical, Inc. Ultrasound Image of a Uterine Fibroid

Laparoscopic ultrasound is the diagnostic method used with the Acessa™ System for identifying the uterine fibroids during the surgical procedure. Laparoscopic ultrasound is a surgical imaging method that provides direct contact imaging of organs. This enhances the ability of the surgeon to identify and treat all of the fibroids present, and may improve the efficacy of the procedure. Laparoscopic ultrasound is ideal for patients with symptomatic fibroids of the uterus.

How Does Laparoscopic Ultrasound Work?

Ultrasound transducers convert electrical energy to sound wave energy. The ultrasound waves variably penetrate tissues and tissue interfaces, with some energy being reflected back to the transducer by those interfaces. The transducer then converts the signal of the reflected ultrasound waves into continuous gray scale images on the ultrasound monitor.

Transducers are designed to produce ultrasound waves of different frequencies. Higher frequencies will produce images that have higher resolution. As a result, a 10 MHz signal will produce a much clearer image than a 5 MHz signal. The issue for the surgeon is that higher frequencies weaken more rapidly than the lower frequencies. Therefore, a 10 MHz transducer can only penetrate about 5 cm into a solid organ, and does not deliver clear images of fibroids within the uterus, if done trans-abdominally.

On the other hand, intraoperative use of the ultrasound probe enables use of the higher frequency transducer because it can be placed directly on the surface of the uterus. As a result, intraoperative ultrasound images are much clearer and provide significantly more accurate results than other imaging methods.

What is the Technique for Laparoscopic Ultrasound?

Ultrasound images can be complicated by refraction and mirror images from other solid surfaces. However, by scanning the uterus through multiple planes, the surgeon can confirm the presence and location of fibroids. The entire uterus is mapped slowly and carefully, laterally from right and left and from both the anterior and posterior perspectives.

What are the Benefits?

Laparoscopic ultrasound is better than other methods of detecting uterine fibroids. In a recent clinical study, laparoscopic ultrasound identified 107% more fibroids than trans-vaginal ultrasound and 46% more fibroids than magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). As a result, it provides significant benefits to Gynecologic surgeons in the treatment of symptomatic uterine fibroids.