AIM: Microwave endometrial ablation (MEA) is a treatment for dysfunctional uterine bleeding. It is a second generation ablative technique which is as effective as hysteroscopic methods but quicker and easier to perform. Our aim is to describe the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) appearances of the uterus following this procedure.
METHODS: 15 women underwent MRI immediately before MEA, and again at one day and 4 months after treatment. T1 and T2 sequences were performed at 1.0 T using a body coil. Images were assessed by 2 independent observers for quantitative and qualitative changes. Clinical questionnaires were completed before treatment and at 4 months.
RESULTS: On images obtained one day post-ablation, 14 patients had a low signal intensity band subjacent to the treated area of the endometrial cavity on T2 images. Imaging at 4 months showed significant amounts of endometrial tissue in 11 patients, including 3 of the 6 patients who were amenorrhoeic. There were no changes in the appearances of myometrium or uterine dimensions and there were no haematometra.
CONCLUSIONS: The detection of residual endometrium by MRI means that unopposed oestrogen hormone replacement therapy should be avoided after MEA, even in women who have amenorrhoea. The post-operative sub-endometrial low signal intensity zone corresponds to the region of tissue necrosis detected on vital staining of the treated uterus in in vivo testing. Depth of tissue destruction is a surrogate marker for clinical effectiveness. MRI may have a role in early assessment of patients participating in clinical research who are undergoing a modified MEA technique while retaining their uterus.
- MR imaging