What is the role of endometrial ablation in the treatment of abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB)?

Updated: Dec 07, 2018
  • Author: Millie A Behera, MD; Chief Editor: Richard Scott Lucidi, MD, FACOG  more...
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Endometrial ablation is an alternative for those who wish to avoid hysterectomy or who are not candidates for major surgery. [13] Ablation techniques are varied and can employ laser, rollerball, resectoscope, or thermal destructive modalities. Most of these procedures are associated with high patient satisfaction rates.

Pretreat the patient with an agent, such as leuprolide acetate, medroxyprogesterone acetate, or danazol, to thin the endometrium.

The ablation procedure is more conservative than hysterectomy and has a shorter recovery time. Some patients may have persistent bleeding and require repeat procedures or move on to hysterectomy. Rebleeding following ablation has raised concern about the possibility of an occult endometrial cancer developing within a pocket of active endometrium. Few reported cases exist, but further studies are needed to quantify this risk.

Endometrial ablation is not a form of contraception. Some studies report up to a 5% pregnancy rate in postablation procedures.

A study by Vitagliano et al comparing thermal balloon ablation with transcervical endometrial resection in the treatment of AUB indicated that postoperative pain is greater following the thermal ablation procedure. In the study, 47 women with AUB underwent one of the two procedures, with pelvic pain evaluated one and four hours postoperatively and the need for analgesics assessed. Patients treated with thermal balloon ablation were found to have more pain at both evaluations, and the need for analgesic rescue dose was greater in this group. At 30-day postoperative evaluation, pain seemed to still be greater in these patients. However, complications such as heavy blood loss, uterine perforation, and thermal injuries did not occur in any of the study’s patients. [14]

In a study that compared the efficacy and safety of  the Novasure impedance control system and microwave endometrial ablation (MEA) in 66 women with AUB, women in the former treatment group had significantly higher rates of amenorrhea 1 year following treatment (75.8%) compared with those in the MEA treatment group (24.2%). [15]

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