Columbia University introduces new incisionless treatment for uterine fibroids

December 1, 2021

The Columbia University Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at NewYork-Presbyterian/Lawrence Hospital recently debuted the Sonata Treatment, a first-of-its-kind, state-of-the-art incisionless, transcervical solution for treatment of uterine fibroids.

Fibroids are the most common benign (noncancerous) tumors of the reproductive tract and the most common cause of hysterectomy in the United States. As many as 70-80 percent of women experience fibroids during their reproductive years, and about half of those women are symptomatic.

“Uterine fibroids affect many women and can cause discomfort and heavy menstrual bleeding,” said Arnold P. Advincula, MD, chief of the division of Gynecologic Specialty Surgery at NYP/CUIMC, who oversees the implementation of the new procedure as a treatment option for patients. “We can now offer a new advanced gynecologic treatment option for some women with symptomatic uterine fibroids that is incision-free and fast and can be particularly beneficial during childbearing years.”

Symptoms of fibroids include heavy bleeding, pelvic pain, and increased urinary frequency. While fibroids are typically not life-threatening, fibroid symptoms can have a dramatic impact on quality of life and can impair women’s health in other ways. Many fibroids patients present with fertility concerns and are interested in minimally invasive treatment approaches and uterine conservation.

The Sonata Treatment is being used alongside numerous other fibroid treatments, including hormonal management and laparoscopic and robotic treatment myomectomy, and hysterectomy, offered through the Columbia Center for Research and Advanced Fibroid Treatment (CRAFT). The center coordinates services among gynecology, reproductive endocrinology, radiology, interventional radiology, and hematology – helping patients to understand all non-surgical and surgical treatment options.

Treatments at Columbia for fibroids and other gynecologic conditions requiring surgical intervention are always treated in the least invasive way possible with minimally-invasive laparoscopic and robotic surgery. The Sonata Treatment will be introduced alongside others minimally-invasive techniques and will be used as an alternative for patients to surgeries like myomectomy and hysterectomy.

The Sonata Treatment, a new technology from medical device company Gynesonics, is the first transcervical fibroid ablation system with intrauterine ultrasound imaging, which provides higher resolution imaging for the targeting of fibroids. The Sonata Treatment can be used for most fibroid types including submucous, intramural, transmural, and subserous. Transcervical delivery also avoids the peritoneal cavity and does not require patients to undergo general anesthesia.

The new technology has performed well in several clinical trials. Ninety-four percent of patients needed no surgical reintervention two years after treatment, and 95 percent had reduced menstrual bleeding one year after treatment. Additionally, 50 percent of patients were able to return to normal activity the day after being treated, with no major recovery time.

The adoption of the new technology is being led by Arnold Advincula, MD, Chief of the Division of Gynecologic Specialty Surgery at NYP/CUIMC and a world-renowned expert in minimally invasive gynecologic surgery.

“At Columbia, our primary goal in patient care is to have the best outcomes possible through individualized treatment plans that fit each patient’s lifestyle and future goals,” said Dr. Advincula. “We are committed to adopting the latest research-backed treatments to give our patients the best and most innovative options.”

Columbia surgeons began performing minimally-invasive gynecologic surgery procedures at Lawrence Hospital since 2015, and have quickly grown their practice, making surgeries more accessible for patients from New York City and Westchester County.

“Under Dr. Advincula’s leadership, NYP/Lawrence Hospital has become a destination for minimally-invasive gynecologic surgery in the tri-state region,” said Mary D’Alton, MD, Chair of the Department of Ob/Gyn at NYP/CUIMC. “We are committed to making gynecologic surgery for women more available and accessible.”

For more information on fibroids treatment at Columbia or to make an appointment with one of our doctors, visit CRAFT.