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Procedure treats heavy menstrual cycles

January 25, 2008 2:22:05 PM PST
Several Triangle doctors are performing a procedure -- traditionally done in the hospital -- right in their offices.

Cryoablation Therapy is a treatment for women with heavy menstrual cycles.

For most of her life, heavy periods debilitated Annette Sarantis.

"You're talking almost a whole week out of your life that you don't leave the house," patient Annette Sarantis said. "You don't do anything you stay at home and you take care of yourself."

Sarantis is battling salivary gland cancer and anemia. A hysterectomy wasn't an option for her, but a Cryoablation Therapy was an option.

Dr. Lisa Roberts, president and CEO of gynecology and laproscopis surgeries, performed Sarantis' surgery, which reduced the heavy bleeding by freezing the tissue lining the uterus.

"We'll place a very small cryoprobe or freezing probe inside the uterus, and we'll do all this under ultra sound guidance," Dr. Roberts said. "The lining of the uterus, which we call the endometrium, is frozen and over time that tends to make the lining inactive so this does not involve hormones. Women still continue to produce hormones."

Twenty to 30 percent of the women who have the procedure done will stop having periods all together. The other 60 or 70 percent will have a significant reduction in the amount of bleeding, usually down to light bleeding or spotting.

Endometrial cryoablation was FDA approved in 2001 and traditionally it's been done in a hospital setting, but now it's offered in offices and in Raleigh. Dr. Roberts' office is one of only three where you can get it done.

"I was in the office maybe 45 minutes," Sarantis said. "The whole procedure was 15 minutes, maybe."

While the procedure was short and easy for Sarantis, the effects were life changing.

"Through cryosurgery, it allowed me to battle anemia and cut my periods to a day-and-a-half and be back to feeling normal," Sarantis explained. "If we couldn't have controlled the bleedingm, I would have probably died of anemia."


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