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Halting abnormal menstrual flow.

Abnormally heavy or prolonged menstruation can interfere with a woman's lifestyle as well as her health since it can lead to iron-deficiency anemia. In many cases, hysterectomy may be recommended to relieve excessive blood loss when medical treatments fail.

Heavy bleeding can be caused by hormonal imbalances and any disorder of the uterus, from fibroid tumors to polyps. In some females, though, no anatomical or hormonal cause can be found. Such women can be helped with an outpatient surgical procedure that doesn't require significant recovery time.

Rollerball endometrial ablation is so named because it uses a tiny instrument that resembles a paint roller to apply a high-frequency electrical current to the endometrium, or uterine lining. The cylinder of the rollerball provides even heat distribution that cauterizes the tissue and prevents it from bleeding.

The procedure usually is performed under local anesthesia or mild sedation and takes about an hour. Most women resume normal activity within a day of treatment. Hysterectomy, in contrast, requires up to five days in the hospital and three to six weeks of recovery at home, depending on whether the uterus is removed through an abdominal incision or through the vagina.

Results from the cauterization technique are excellent, reports Gregory Christman, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology, University of Michigan Medical Center. The majority of patients no longer experience any bleeding and the remainder have light or normal periods. While the procedure almost always causes permanent sterility, it does not lead to remature menopause, because the ovaries are left intact.
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Publication:USA Today (Magazine)
Date:Oct 1, 1993
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