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Endometrial Ablation: Where Have We Been? Where Are We Going?


Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology: December 2006 - Volume 49 - Issue 4 - p 736-766
doi: 10.1097/01.grf.0000211947.28842.93
Original Articles

Endometrial ablation (EA) is targeted destruction of the endothelial surface of the uterine cavity. The procedure was originally designed as a less invasive alternative to hysterectomy for the symptom of heavy menstrual bleeding unrelated to structural pathology of the uterus, that was not responsive to medical therapy. More recently it has become apparent that the procedure can be performed in the presence of submucous leiomyomas, providing they meet a number of size and location criteria. The first EA serie as published in Germany in the 1930s, but the procedure did not attract much attention until the latter part of the 20th century. Currently, EA can be performed under endoscopic direction with the neodymium:yttrium alumnum garnet laser, with a radiofrequency resectoscope, or with an expanding array of nonresectoscopic EA systems. It is apparent that most but not all of the complications associated with resectoscopic endometrial ablation are eliminated with nonresectoscopic endometrial ablation, but serious morbidity has been reported with all of the newer systems to date. Success and patient satisfaction seem to be enduring in the majority of well-selected patients treated in clinical trials, but repeat surgery, usually hysterectomy, is performed in 25% to 40% by 5 years after surgery. Increased efficiencies should be realized if the procedure could be moved to an office setting.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, Los Angeles Medical Center, Los Angeles, California

Correspondence: Malcolm G. Munro, MD, FRCS(c), FACOG, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center, 4900 Sunset Boulevard, Station 3-B, Los Angeles, CA 90027. E-mail:

Copyright © 2006 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.