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Magnetic Resonance Guided Focused Ultrasound (MRgFUS) is a non-invasive outpatient procedure that uses high intensity focused ultrasound waves to ablate (destroy) the fibroid tissue. During the procedure, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is used to see inside the body to deliver the treatment directly to the fibroid. The procedure is FDA approved for treating uterine fibroids, and is under investigation for the treatment of breast, prostate, brain and bone cancer. Weill Cornell Medical Center is the only center in the tri-state area offering this therapy, and its lack of availability is a large reason that this procedure is not covered by insurance companies.
MRI scans identify the tissue in the body to treat and are used to plan each patient's procedure. MRIs provide a three-dimensional view of the targeted tissue, allowing for precise focusing and delivery of the ultrasound energy. MRI also enables the physician to monitor tissue temperature in real-time to ensure adequate but safe heating of the target area. Immediate imaging of the treated area following MRgFUS helps the physician determine if the treatment was successful.