Category Archives: Procedures

Sonata Fibroid Treatment

What You Need to Know About the Sonata Fibroid Treatment

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Most people are likely to agree: After receiving a diagnosis of any kind, it’s a relief to learn that the treatment is minimally invasive or non-surgical. It’s even better when the condition doesn’t require treatment, of any kind. Much of the time, that’s exactly the case for uterine fibroids. If small enough, the fibroid likely won’t cause any symptoms, and won’t need to be treated. In some instances, fibroids may need to be treated with medication.

However, this isn’t always the case for larger, more severe uterine fibroids. In some instances, these fibroids may be large enough to impair fertility — they may also cause more intense and uncomfortable symptoms, such as excessive menstrual bleeding. This is the point at which a fibroid would typically need to be surgically removed.

Historically, uterine fibroids have been removed using procedures such as hysterectomies and myomectomies. Surgeries such as these can have a substantial impact on the patient’s life, moving forward. For example, although receiving a hysterectomy (the complete removal of the uterus) will ensure that fibroids do not grow back, it will result in the person being unable to have children. The decision to receive a hysterectomy can be a difficult one to make.

More recently, non-surgical solutions to uterine fibroids have been developing — this includes the Sonata® fibroid treatment.

What Are Uterine Fibroids?

What Are Uterine Fibroids?Uterine fibroids are growths on the uterus. They’re non-cancerous, and very rarely develop into uterine cancer. Fibroids typically develop during childbearing years.

The size of a fibroid varies quite significantly, depending on the individual. At their smallest, fibroids can be as tiny as seedlings — so small that they may not even be visible to the human eye. However, if they grow larger and more severe, fibroids can become significant masses, which are able to enlarge and even distort the uterus.

The number of fibroids someone possesses can also vary from person to person. It’s possible to develop just a single uterine fibroid. It’s also possible to develop multiple fibroids. In some especially extreme instances where a person has large or numerous fibroids, the uterus can enlarge to the point where it comes into contact with the rib cage, even adding weight to the person’s body. (However, this isn’t a common scenario.)

Many women will develop uterine fibroids at some point in their lives, leading up to menopause. As a whole, the condition is quite common. Since fibroids often don’t lead to symptoms, many women with fibroids will remain entirely unaware. Still, it is possible for fibroids to be discovered during a prenatal ultrasound or a pelvic exam. In these symptom-free fibroid cases, the individual will likely not require treatment, of any kind.

In instances where fibroids do lead to symptoms, here’s a clearer idea of what to look out for:

  • Menstrual bleeding that’s heavy and lasts longer than a week
  • Pain or pressure in the pelvic region
  • Frequent urination and difficulties emptying the bladder
  • Pain in the legs or back
  • Constipation
  • Painful sex
  • Fertility issues

If you begin to notice any conjunction of these symptoms, then be sure to consult your doctor.

What Is the Sonata® Treatment?

What Is the Sonata® Treatment?The Sonata® Treatment is a minimally invasive option for treating symptomatic uterine fibroids. It has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), making it a viable and effective option for fibroid treatment in the United States. It was developed by Gynesonics, a women’s health care company that focuses its efforts on developing transcervical technologies that are incision-free and minimally invasive. These technologies are intended to be uterus-preserving and can be used for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment of women’s health conditions.

The treatment is fully incision-free and begins with the use of an intrauterine ultrasound device. Using this device, a medical professional is able to find and target individual uterine fibroids. Upon discovery, radiofrequency energy is sent to the fibroid being targeted, leading to a reduction in size, as well as less severe symptoms in the patient.

In many ways, the Sonata® system is a breakthrough method of treating symptomatic uterine fibroids. Thanks to the treatment, instances of hysterectomies and myomectomies can be reduced, and the uterus can be preserved. Additionally, the Sonata® treatment is versatile, being capable of treating various types, sizes, and locations of uterine fibroids.

According to clinical studies, the Sonata® system has been shown to reduce fibroid systems. Within three months of the treatment, close to 90 percent of women saw a significant reduction in menstrual bleeding. Within a year, this number rose to around 95 percent of women. Further, following their treatment using the Sonata® system, over half of the patients had returned to their regular activities by the next day. This is a far different scenario than if the patient had received a hysterectomy or a myomectomy instead.

How Does the Sonata® Treatment Work?

The Sonata® treatment can be used to treat uterine fibroids of different sizes and types, as well as fibroids found at different locations in the uterus. No incisions will need to be made. The Sonata® procedure is often performed while the patient is under anesthesia. The fibroid specialist will begin by inserting the intrauterine ultrasound device — it will be inserted into the uterus via the vagina.

Using this ultrasound device, the specialist will be able to begin locating the uterine fibroids. Once the fibroids have been accurately pinpointed, the radiofrequency energy will be introduced directly to the growth. This begins the process of a gradual shrinking of the fibroid, which will continue over time. This also leads to the eventual reduction of (or relief from) symptoms associated with uterine fibroids.

Given the nature of the treatment, the uterus is not harmed in the process. Unlike with a hysterectomy, the uterus is fully preserved and has the potential to heal. The Sonata® treatment is also an outpatient procedure, rarely taking more than one hour for a specialist to complete.

What Are the Benefits of Using Sonata® for the Treatment of Women With Uterine Fibroids?

Unsurprisingly, the Sonata® system offers a large variety of benefits, compared to other treatments women may receive for symptomatic uterine fibroids. Here’s an overview of those benefits:

  • Given that the Sonata® system is capable of targeting and treating a variety of fibroid locations and types, it is a uniquely versatile method of treatment. If you’re currently experiencing symptoms as a result of uterine fibroids, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to qualify for the Sonata® treatment. You won’t have to worry about your fibroids being “severe enough” to warrant treatment using the Sonata® system — if you’re experiencing symptoms of any degree, this could be an option to suit you. Consider having a conversation with your doctor, if you’re unsure.
  • Unlike many of the existing treatments for symptomatic uterine fibroids, the Sonata® system requires no incisions or surgical interventions. It is also possible for the procedure to be performed without general anesthesia, based on your preferences or your specialist’s. Due to the lack of surgical intervention, you should expect a far shorter recovery time compared to if you received a hysterectomy or a myomectomy. Also, unlike these more invasive procedures, the uterus is preserved. This can be a huge long-term benefit for many women. Receiving fibroid treatment via the Sonata® system will not damage your ability to have children in the future.
  • Due to the minimally invasive nature of the treatment, there is no scarring associated with the Sonata® system.
  • There’s not just a shorter recovery time for those who receive the Sonata® treatment, but in addition, there will be a far shorter hospital stay to account for as well. Plus, in many cases, women who’ve received the Sonata® system treatment have been able to return to their usual daily routine by the very next day.

Is the Sonata® Treatment Covered by Insurance?

Is the Sonata Treatment Covered by Insurance?

As is the case for most new medical treatments, insurance coverage can vary from provider to provider. After having a conversation with your doctor and establishing that the Sonata® system is a viable treatment for you, your specialist can work with your insurance and check for coverage.

Fortunately, health insurance coverage for the Sonata® treatment is expanding. Just within the first six months of 2020, over 50 million new individuals became eligible for the Sonata® system, should they ever require it.

Clinicians like Dr. Bradley Hurst — the current Director of Assisted Reproduction at Atrium Health’s Carolinas Medical Center — are putting in the effort to improve the availability of the Sonata® system, by helping to expand insurance coverage for the procedure. For example, Dr. Hurst has put in substantial effort to improve access within the Charlotte, North Carolina area.

Fortunately for fibroid patients, many health care professionals see the value of medical innovation — not just Dr. Hurst, although he is certainly a great example. These specialists and professionals are collaborating with commercial payers, hoping to expand the public’s access to the groundbreaking Sonata® treatment.

Medical directors of commercial insurance companies will determine whether certain treatments are safe, necessary, and effective enough, in order to warrant insurance coverage. They will also look at the cost-utility of that treatment, based on the disease state. Since medical policies are reviewed annually (at a minimum), there is a good chance that coverage for the Sonata® system will only continue to expand, given the effectiveness of the treatment. This is wonderful news for individuals searching for a non-invasive, uterus-preserving fibroid treatment, within their budget.

In the short time it’s been available to the public, the Sonata® treatment has made a clear impact on how symptomatic uterine fibroids are approached and treated. With the development of the treatment, it’s become increasingly obvious that surgical intervention, such as with a hysterectomy or a myomectomy, isn’t always necessary to eliminate symptoms.

Sonata® Treatments at Arizona Gynecology Consultants

Sonata® Treatments at Arizona Gynecology ConsultantsAt Arizona Gynecology Consultants, we’re proponents of medical interventions that improve lives. We also provide consulting services for gynecological surgeries, including the Sonata® treatment. You can always expect our team of dedicated healthcare professionals to treat your situation with the utmost compassion and respect. We bring high-quality health care services to the Phoenix metropolitan area, at several convenient locations.

Do you have any questions about the Sonata® treatment? Interested in learning more about our other gynecology services?

Contact us for more information. We’d love to help.

Guide to Vaginal Reconstruction Surgery

Your Guide to Vaginal Reconstruction Surgery

This entry was posted in Procedures and tagged on by .

There is no single thing on Earth that is more personal to us than our bodies, and no single part of us that is more private than, well, our private parts.

Perhaps that’s why the topic of vaginal reconstruction is so rarely discussed, even while certain types of vaginal surgeries have risen by 9% over the past year. However, due to researchers and surgeons’ efforts worldwide—including right here at Arizona Gynecology Consultants—there is a wider range of effective, minimally invasive, and therapeutic vaginal surgeries than ever before.

Together, these procedures are known as vaginal reconstructive surgeries.

What Is Vaginal Reconstruction?

Vaginal reconstruction, also known as vaginal rejuvenation, refers to surgeries performed on the vagina, urethra, and labia. In most cases, surgeons either operate to reverse defects or repair damage to these tissues. As a group, vaginal reconstructive surgeries aim to restore this complex system of organs and tissues’ original function and return the patient to a sexually and physically complete life.

As many as 40% of women report sexual and other vaginal concerns, and vaginal reconstruction can address many sources.  Reconstruction can address vaginal pain and incontinence and restore the sexual or reproductive function or even this crucial area’s sensitivity. In some cases, vaginal reconstruction could even improve the appearance or size of one of these areas.

Who Can Benefit from Vaginal Reconstruction?

Vaginal Reconstruction

Many women of reproductive or post-reproductive age can see benefits from vaginal rejuvenation surgeries, but the primary group of candidates is those women who have experienced surgical alteration, injury, or defect of the vaginal region. This group can include:

  • Women living with a congenital disability that altered the structure and function of the vaginal walls
  • Women who have experienced severe physical trauma to the vaginal region—most often the result of rape and assault, or accident
  • Women who have experienced vaginal wall prolapse, a condition where the walls of the vagina herniate and interfere with other organs and structures, including the bladder, urethra, and more
  • Women who have undergone extensive surgery or radiation to treat cancers of the uterus, ovaries, cervix, vagina, vulva, or bladder

Although surgeons and other vaginal health care providers certainly recognize the importance of the appearance of your most intimate areas, improving appearance is typically a secondary consideration to improving your overall vaginal health. However, otherwise-healthy women who have experienced issues with vaginal function and sexual responsiveness may also benefit from vaginal rejuvenation, including:

  • Women who have experienced traumatic or multiple childbirths, leading to diminished sensation
  • Women experiencing inelasticity of the internal, contoured vaginal tissues
  • Women who regularly experience painful sexual intercourse, or pain and soreness with exercise
  • Women who wish to improve the overall appearance of the external labia or vulva due to changes caused by aging, injury, or congenital issues

Types of Vaginal Rejuvenation Surgeries

Just as the reason’s women seek vaginal reconstruction or rejuvenation can vary, the surgeries themselves can vary as well. We want to note, as well, that every patient is different, and the reasons women seek vaginal reconstruction surgery are very likely to differ. Among the most common types of vaginal rejuvenation surgeries are:

  • Vaginoplasty, overall reconstruction of the internal structure of the vagina
  • Labiaplasty, reshaping of the external labia and surrounding tissue
  • Vulvoplasty, reshaping of the external vulva and surrounding tissue

Depending on the initial reasons for surgery and the type of procedure chosen, there are multiple results vaginal reconstruction surgeries can produce; it is also important to note that most vaginal surgeries are not performed solely to improve appearance. However, we’ve found that many women experience reduced pain and restoration of function and a sense of well-being, and increased self-confidence after vaginal reconstruction surgery. Desired results can include:

  • Tightening the walls of the vagina to restore it to its condition before childbirth, surgery, or aging (also known as virgin tightening surgery)
  • Improving sensitivity and reducing pain during intercourse or exercise
  • Reducing urinary incontinence and vaginal prolapse
  • Improving self-confidence and self-esteem following a perceived improvement in vaginal sensation or pain, as well as labial or vulvar appearance

How You Can Prepare for Vaginal Reconstruction Surgery

Preparing for Vaginal Reconstruction Surgery

In general, vaginal rejuvenation procedures are minimally invasive and use innovative equipment designed to help you experience reduced pain and blood loss, quicker recovery, and minimal scarring. However, as vaginal reconstruction (and any minimally invasive surgery) is still a surgery, you’ll need to follow the recommendations of your medical team to achieve the best possible result.

Depending on the specific combination of vaginal rejuvenation procedures you’ve scheduled, your medical history, and the advice of your physician, preparation for vaginal reconstruction can vary. In many cases, you’ll be asked to maintain a liquid diet for 24 hours before your surgery and limit liquids after midnight the night before the procedure. Some providers also require a bowel prep to clear your bowels before surgery. In addition, if you regularly take blood-thinning medications or over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, you’ll likely need to discontinue their use before surgery to reduce your chances of excessive bleeding during your surgery.

Overall, these recommendations are general to any surgery, and your vaginal reconstruction surgeon may have special recommendations unique to you. It is crucial to discuss any surgery preparations with your physician before your procedure.

How Does Vaginal Reconstruction Happen?

As the types of vaginal issues leading to the need for vaginal rejuvenation vary, so, too, do the surgical techniques used to correct them. The specific procedure used during your reconstruction depends on the damage, injury, or other issues you’ve encountered and can range from a fairly simple process to a complex procedure involving multiple techniques. However, as mentioned, special care is taken to ensure that the vaginal rejuvenation procedures performed remain minimally invasive.

Surgeons at Arizona Gynecology Consultants utilize world-class vaginal rejuvenation surgical techniques performed at the world’s best medical institutions. In addition, these surgeons are specially trained to perform these techniques and handle the specialized equipment necessary for their completion. As a result, surgical outcomes are nearly always positive.

How Do You Recover from Vaginal Reconstruction?

Immediately after your vaginal reconstruction surgery, you’ll be taken to the post-surgery recovery room for monitoring. At this time, you will likely receive medications for any nausea or pain experienced. Once you’ve recovered sufficiently, you will be encouraged to move and walk as much as possible to improve blood flow—this encourages proper healing as well as prevents blood clots from forming in your legs and other extremities.

Most patients only require a few days to recover from vaginal reconstruction, depending on the specific procedures. However, with all vaginal rejuvenations, most physicians recommend abstaining from sexual intercourse for six weeks or so. After this time, a few risks persist, as they do with any surgical procedure—however, the risk of these incidences is minimal:

  • Adverse reactions to anesthesia
  • Scarring
  • Infection of the surgical site
  • Loss of sensation

Also, while some vaginal rejuvenations are performed to increase sexual response, the degree to which sensation is restored varies. Some women experience minimal restoration of sensation, and some achieve optimal sensation. Meanwhile, a few women may experience oversensitivity, which can cause pain and detract from sexual pleasure.

Is Vaginal Reconstruction for You?

Vaginal Reconstruction Surgeon

As with any surgical procedure, it is essential to consult with your gynecologist to determine if vaginal reconstruction is right for you. Arizona Gynecology Consultants’ board-certified group of gynecologists and women’s health providers can assess your unique condition and help you explore the surgical and other options available to you.

Contact our office today to request an appointment.