Dr. Todd Billett and Dr. Jennie Draper are the first VPFW providers to complete the new Acessa procedure
This week, west end providers Dr. Todd Billett and Dr. Jennie Draper successfully completed the first ever Acessa procedure to treat uterine fibroids done at VPFW. This is only the third time the procedure has been completed in Central Virginia, and we are proud to offer this new minimally invasive, outpatient option to better serve our patients.
“So many patients suffer from painful uterine fibroids. The new Acessa procedure allows us to dramatically shrink these tumors with necrosis, using only two small, laparoscopic incisions — versus abdominal myomectomy where we usually need a larger incision to cut out the fibroids. This new procedure will allow our patients to have a shorter hospital stay and shorter recovery time,” says Dr. Jennie Draper.
What are uterine fibroids?
Uterine fibroids are tumors that develop in the uterus or sometimes outside of the uterine cavity. They’re the most common tumors in the reproductive tract, and they can range in size from a pea to a watermelon. Fibroids are usually non-cancerous; however they can cause heavy bleeding and sometimes affect fertility.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of fibroids include pelvic pain and pressure, lower back pain, heavy or prolonged periods, bleeding between periods, pain during intercourse, and difficulty becoming pregnant. They can usually be found by a gynecologist during a routine pelvic exam. Your physician may order an ultrasound scan or MRI imaging test to confirm diagnosis.
Who is at risk?
Fibroids are most common in women in their 30’s and 40’s as they approach menopause. They are also more common in African American women. Other risk factors include family history (you’re 3 times more likely to have them if your mother had them!) and obesity.
How does the Acessa procedure differ from other fibroid treatments?
The Acessa procedure uses controlled radiofrequency energy to treat fibroid tissue, which then softens and shrinks over time. This allows fibroid symptoms to resolve with no suturing of the uterine tissue, which helps the patient recover faster and with less risk of infection and less blood loss. Unlike many alternative interventions, the Acessa procedure optimizes imaging of the uterus by simultaneously displaying the laparoscopic camera view and the ultrasound view in real-time, so physicians can identify and treat nearly all locations of fibroids, including those outside the uterine cavity and within uterine walls. Women typically experience minimal discomfort after the procedure and can return to work in 4-5 days, with long-term satisfaction and relief.