About the Acessa Procedure
Acessa is a procedure for pre-menopausal women (typically younger than 55 years old) who are tired of living with ongoing pain caused by fibroids. This procedure is a minimally invasive option that allows women to keep their uterus and return to daily life quickly.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS FOR FIBROIDS?
Women experience a variety of symptoms from fibroids that can become extremely debilitating and affect their everyday lives. Symptoms include heavy and painful periods, periods lasting longer than 7+ days, stomach, lower-back, and pelvis pain, and stomach protrusion which causes women to look pregnant when they aren't. More symptoms include anemia, infertility, painful sex, urinary frequency, and G.I. issues like gas and constipation. Between 15 - 30% of women experience severe pain and discomfort daily from their fibroids.
WHAT TYPES OF FIBROIDS CAN ACESSA TREAT?
Size and location of fibroids are important factors in what procedure is right for you. That's why physicians do an MRI or ultrasound prior to determining if you are a candidate for the procedure. The Acessa procedure has been studied on fibroids up to 10cm.
- Intramural Fibroids - These are the most common types of fibroids. Intramural fibroids appear in the muscular wall of the uterus. Intramural fibroids have the potential to grow larger and can stretch the womb.
- Subserosal Fibroids - Typically form on the outside of the uterus, which is called the serosa. They may grow large enough to make your womb appear bigger on one side
- Pedunculated Fibroids - Suberosal tumors can develop a stem, a slender base that supports the tumor. When they do, they are known as pedunculated fibroids.
- Submucosal Fibroids - These types of tumors develop in the middle muscle layer, or myometrium, of your uterus. Submucosal tumors aren't as common as other types.
Acessa Procedure vs Other Fibroid Procedures
Compared to other treatment options, the Acessa procedure is the least invasive procedure that will have you back to your daily life quickly and safely.
- Vs Hysterectomy - Acessa keeps your uterus and has a quicker recovery timeframe and less scars, however, hysterectomy is a definitive treatment, which means there is no chance fibroid symptoms will return after recovery.
- Vs Myomectomy - Acessa is typically considered less invasive than a myomectomy, even a robotic myomectomy, because there is less blood loss during the procedure. There are less scars and less cutting and suturing of uterine tissue. Also, for patients with multiple, small fibroids, physicians often note that Acessa can be a more accurate procedure because it utilizes an ultrasound to find and target fibroids whereas with most myomectomies, the surgeon is only using his or her eyes. However, because a myomectomy removes the fibroids right away, patients with larger fibroids may experience quicker relief from bulking than with Acessa, which can take longer to shrink the fibroids.
- Vs UAE - Acessa is typically considered by Gynecologists because it does not require an overnight stay in the hospital and typically patients report less post-operative pain. However, Acessa does require general anesthesia and incisions in the abdomen, whereas UAE does not always require anesthesia nor as visible incisions.
- Vs Hysteroscopic options (GEA, Hysteroscopic Myomectomy, Transcervial RFA) - Acessa is typically considered a more comprehensive treatment option for fibroids because the procedure is performed laparoscopically, through the stomach, vs through the cervix, which allows surgeons to target fibroids all around the uterus, however, hysteroscopic options can be quicker and comprehensive for patients with fibroids that are closer to or in the uterine cavity.
How Does the Acessa Procedure Work?
The clinical terminology for the procedure is Laparoscopic Radiofrequency Ablation (Lap RFA) for fibroids. The Acessa procedure typically takes between 90 and 120 minutes depending on the size, location, and number of fibroids. During this procedure, there are three incisions that are made by our highly trained surgeons. One in the belly button, which typically does not leave a scar, one above the bikini line, and one small incision that does not leave a scar by the bikini line.
- Using the Acessa Ultrasound Probe and guidance mapping, we are able to see the exact location of each fibroid. The fibroids are first heated, using radiofrequency ablation, to the point where they are destroyed and are no longer the consistency of a fibroid. The controlled heat denatures the proteins inside the fibroid cells.
- After being heated, the fibroids go from being the consistency of a hard baseball to a soft marshmallow. The change in the consistency to a soft marshmallow and gradual shrinkage is what creates the relief from the fibroid symptoms.
- This process is repeated until all the fibroids are treated. The benefit of the Acessa procedure is that there is no incision within the uterus which allows us to keep the healthy tissue intact.
IF THE FIBROIDS ARE NOT PHYSICALLY REMOVED, HOW DOES ACESSA WORK?
As a reminder, Acessa is a treatment for benign (non-cancerous) symptomatic fibroids. If patients are at risk for cancer, or malignancy, Acessa is not the appropriate treatment. Studies show that fibroids do not have to be completely removed to solve symptoms. Killing the fibroid cells so they shrink and stop putting pressure on the uterus can solve symptoms. Physicians have explained that even a fractional reduction in fibroid volume can result in significant improvement in heavy periods, pelvic pain and bulk. To summarize, Acessa works by heating the fibroid cells from the inside out, not by removing the fibroid. Cell tissues die when they reach a certain temperature. Acessa heats the fibroid tissue to the point that it dies. The dead fibroid tissue shrinks and shrivels but is not harmful. It gets absorbed by the body, just like any dead tissue cell.
Results & Recovery after the Acessa Procedure
• Addresses nearly all symptoms such as excessive bleeding, prolonged periods, urinary frequency, painful sex, stomach, lower-back and pelvic pain.
• In clinical studies, there was an average shrinkage of 45% in fibroid size post-procedure. This number is contingent on where the fibroid is located and the size.
• Women typically see the most symptom improvement within 3 months of the procedure with continued improvement throughout the first year.
• Studies have shown both clinically and statistically significant reduction in period blood loss.
• Significant reduction in fibroid and uterine volume.
BY THE NUMBERS:
- 82% of women had lighter periods
- 94% patient satisfaction rate
- Only 11% of patients required additional reintervention after the Acessa procedure.
How Advanced Gynecology Can Help: Is the Acessa Procedure the Right Choice for you?
Our board-certified team of women’s health experts are ready to help you with diagnostic care and a range of treatment options.
We will counsel you about the best options for you and your health.