The Managing Director, Nordica Fibroid Care Centre, Lagos, Dr. Abayomi Ajayi has advised that therapy for uterine fibroid patients should be tailored for individual needs, looking at the options available, as there is no one size fits all.
Ajayi who disclosed this at a press briefing which held recently in Lagos, said that from credible research 70 per cent of all women will have uterine fibroids in their lifetime. He said cases in Nigeria have increased and it is really disturbing but howbeit treatment must be tailored made for the individual patients.
Ajayi, said women diagnosed with uterine fibroids should look out for individualized best treatment options rather than rush into surgery, as there are no one-size-fits-all treatments for the uterine fibroids.
Ajayi who said it is not every fibroid that needs to be removed insisted that it is important to let people know that there are ways of removing fibroids besides invasive surgery.
The doctor posited that there is no need to rush into surgery because of the complications. What we are saying to patients is that there are options available now, and you can look at the most suitable one for you.
“The point is that the best available option should be chosen for the patient. In my opinion, High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound, HIFU – a non-invasive treatment that eliminates the need for surgery – is the best option because the patient does not need to be cut at all.
“However, available options may be combined. For instance, HIFU may be combined with hysteroscopy to see the inside of the uterus without invasive surgery”.
Ajayi added “this is actually what it is drawing my attention. The ordeal of so many people within the health sector that are afraid of doing surgery. Fibroid surgery anywhere in the world has issues and that is why I went all out for HIFU, a non-invasive way to treat uterine fibroids.
Speaking about HIFU, he said it uses real-time ultrasound and high-intensity ultrasound waves to generate localised heat to specifically target individual fibroids to destroy the cells.
He said using the treatment method, in conjunction with image guidance, heat can be used to destroy the fibroid tissue without damaging nearby tissue or the tissues that the beam passes through on its way to the target.
Ajayi pointed out that most women suffering from fibroids are scared of open surgery, but now Nigerians have a choice of minimally invasive services or the new-age non-invasive solution using HIFU
The Nordica Fibroid Care Centre is the first to offer HIFU procedure in Nigeria after the technology was first introduced in 2002, at the University of Oxford, UK.
Ajayi said a total of 64 patients had been successfully attended to since the centre opened in 2021. “We have looked at every patient and satisfied them all. We had to break for the year, however, before the end of January, we expect that we would have done 80 procedures.
“HIFU has been a good ride because we do our patient selection carefully and they keep to the rules. Relief is immediate for those that have been experiencing discomfort.
“Recovery time is short and patients can return to work and activities of normal life within 24 hours. With HIFU, there is no risk of blood loss, damage to organs, and tissue. What we try to do is increase the quality of life of fibroid patients. Uterine fibroid rarely causes infertility on its own, but it can disturb it.
“HIFU is not to cure infertility, it improves the woman’s quality of life. For women with infertility, we monitor them carefully. We are trying to close the gap for those who need fertility treatment so that they can get pregnant as soon as possible after the fibroid removal.”
Ajayi urged women with challenges of infertility to seek further counsel, “waiting endlessly after doing fibroid surgery is not the way to go if you are hoping to get pregnant,” he added.