The Acessa™ Procedure for Symptomatic Uterine Fibroids
The Acessa procedure utilizes a technology called radiofrequency ablation, and treats each fibroid by applying energy through a small needle array. The surrounding normal uterine tissue is not damaged or otherwise affected. Over time, the treated fibroid tissue shrinks and may become completely reabsorbed by the body. Acessa is performed under general anesthesia, and only two very small (approximately ¼”) abdominal incisions are needed during the procedure – there is no cutting, suturing or removal of the uterus itself.
Uterus Mapped for Fibroids
The laparoscopic ultrasound probe is used to determine the location and size of all fibroids present. Intra-abdominal ultrasound allows excellent visualization of fibroids as small as 2 mm in diameter.
Handpiece Introduced into Fibroid
The Handpiece tip is advanced into the fibroid with ultrasound guidance.
Deployment of Handpiece Electrodes
The electrode array is deployed. Laparoscopic and ultrasound evaluation confirm that the electrodes remain within the fibroid.
Ablation and Withdrawal
The appropriate duration of ablation is determined, the treatment is applied, and any bleeding is controlled as the Handpiece is withdrawn.
Contacting Your Health Care Provider
There are many treatment options available to women with fibroids. You will need to call your health care provider if gradual changes in your menstrual pattern occur (heavier flow, increased cramping, bleeding between periods), or if fullness or heaviness develops in your lower abdomen. There may be associated pressure or discomfort and occasionally interference with normal urinary function. Your health care provider can discuss the risks and benefits of the various treatment options available to you.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Acessa Procedure?
The Acessa Procedure is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure to treat uterine fibroids. The procedure is a laparoscopic surgery that uses radiofrequency ablation to shrink or eliminate the fibroids while keeping a healthy uterus. The Acessa Procedure uses technology that allows the physician to treat virtually all of the fibroids regardless of size and location.
What happens during the Acessa Procedure?
Two tiny incisions are made that allow the physician to treat your fibroids. Using a small scope and ultrasound guidance, the surgeon treats each fibroid individually with radiofrequency energy that is specifically controlled to destroy the fibroid and leave the surrounding tissue unharmed.The Acessa Procedure involves five basic steps: (1) Two tiny incisions are made; (2) A laparoscopic ultrasound probe is used to determine the location and size of all fibroids present; (3) The Acessa Handpiece tip is then advanced into the fibroid using ultrasound guidance; (4) The electrode array on the tip of the Handpiece is then deployed into the fibroid; (5) Energy is applied based on the size and location of the fibroid, destroying the fibroid.
How long does the Acessa Procedure take?
The surgery is an outpatient procedure, so you will be able to go home the same day. The length of surgery varies depending on the number and size of uterine fibroids that are treated. Surgery typically lasts several hours.
Is general or local anesthesia used?
General anesthesia is used for the Acessa Procedure, so you will not be awake during the procedure.
Is the Acessa Procedure painful?
The procedure is performed under general anesthesia, so you will not feel pain during the procedure. Following the procedure you may experience mild abdominal pain for which your physician may prescribe medication.
Since this is surgery, how big will my incisions be?
The Acessa Procedure is a laparoscopic surgical procedure. Laparoscopic surgery is frequently called the “band aid” surgery. In most cases, there will be two incisions, both ¼” or less in length, in the lower abdomen. There are no incisions made in the uterus, so the uterus remains undamaged.
How safe is the Acessa Procedure?
The Acessa Procedure has been clinically proven to be very safe and effective for the treatment of uterine fibroids. In fact, in three separate clinical studies leading up to FDA clearance, the complication rates were extremely low. Your physician can explain the potential complications of the Acessa Procedure as well as those of other available fibroid therapies.
What type of recovery can I expect?
The Acessa Procedure is performed as outpatient surgery and patients usually go home the same day once they have recovered from anesthesia. Patients typically return to work in 3-5 days.
When can I expect to see results from the Acessa Procedure?
It varies person to person as to when results are seen; however, symptomatic relief of pelvic pain and pressure is typically seen shortly after the procedure is performed. Heavy bleeding is noticeably improved within three to six months, sometimes as soon as the first menstrual period.
What is the chance I will need another procedure to treat fibroids?
Very few patients require further treatment following the Acessa Procedure. The cause of uterine fibroids is unknown; however, once a fibroid is destroyed it cannot grow back. The Acessa Procedure uses ultrasound to identify the fibroids for treatment. This means your surgeon will find most, if not all, of your fibroids and treat them during the procedure. In the largest clinical trial to date, the need for further treatment was less than 5% per year. The chance of fibroids growing back after the procedure will vary from patient to patient.
How effective is the Acessa Procedure?
Clinical studies have shown that the majority of patients treated with Acessa experience a significant reduction in their symptoms and an improvement in quality of life, and patients were very happy with the results. In fact, more than 98% of patients who have had the Acessa procedure were satisfied with the treatment and would recommend it to a friend.
Will my insurance cover the Acessa Procedure?
The Acessa Procedure is usually pre-authorized before patients undergo the procedure. Your physician’s office will work with you through the preauthorization and reimbursement process.
How do I know if I’m a good candidate for the Acessa Procedure?
If you suffer from heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding, abdominal pain and pressure, frequent urination, and/or low energy due to anemia, you may have uterine fibroids. Uterine fibroids are very common. In fact, approximately 70% of women have fibroids by age 50. See your doctor to determine if you have uterine fibroids.If you suffer from these symptoms and have been diagnosed with uterine fibroids, you may be a candidate for the Acessa Procedure. Schedule an initial consultation with an Acessa-trained physician to find out if the Acessa Procedure is right for you
How do I find a physician in my area that performs the Acessa Procedure?
Search for an Acessa-trained physician near you using the Find a Doctor feature on our website.
Acessa in the News
When Erin Robinson's Fibroid Pain Got Real, She Chose Story Over Silence - (Forbes - 5/17/17) ***The Acessa Procedure is not currently FDA cleared for use with women desiring to maintain fertility
'Amazing Race's' Erin Robinson Shares Her Fibroid Story - (CBS Los Angeles - 5/14/17) ***The Acessa Procedure is not currently FDA cleared for use with women desiring to maintain fertility
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