A uterus with both uterine and intrauterine fibroids.

Fibroids: Use HIFU instead of Open Surgeries, Gynecologist Tells Doctors

An Obstetrician/Gynecologist and Managing Director, Nordica Fibroid Care Centre, Lagos, Dr. Abayomi Ajayi, has called on Nigerian doctors to leverage an advanced technology, High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound, HIFU to treat fibroid patients in Nigeria, rather than performing open surgeries.

Ajayi who spoke during an interactive session with doctors in Kano about HIFU and its journey so far in the last two years in Nigeria, however, said not all patients with fibroids require surgery.

He said with HIFU, fewer doctors are required even as nurses have better chances to perform more surgeries when compared to open surgeries.

Not less than 392 successful HIFU procedures have been carried out in the Lagos centre in the last two years.

“The message we want to pass across here is Doctors should consider HIFU as an option in the management of uterine fibroids, a non-invasive option. What that means is the ultrasound converts it to heat in order to kill fibroids. It is not everybody that has a fibroid that needs operation. Some people don’t even need any treatment at all.

“And I can tell you why this (HIFU) is very important for us. A lot of people are afraid of open surgeries in this country.

“Similarly, we can maximize the small doctors that we have, especially in this part of the world where the Doctor – Patient ratio is increasing. In fact, you will perform more surgeries using HIFU.

“We have carried out surgeries using HIFU for 392 patients successfully. And it is one doctor at a time that has been doing these surgeries.

“Currently, there are four of these machines in Africa. Tanzania just got one and is trying to install it. Before, it was three, we have it in South Africa, Egypt, and Nigeria (Lagos). And that in Nigeria is the only one in West Africa. But other African countries are making efforts to key into this.

“We have gone beyond the age where fibroid will be operated on. If well-trained, a single surgeon can do up to 200 fibroid removals in a year. There is no need for anesthesia or admission because it is a day case,” Ajayi said.

HIFU is a non-invasive way to treat uterine fibroids. It uses real-time ultrasound and high-intensity ultrasound waves to generate localized heat to target individual fibroids to destroy the cells specifically.