Microwave Endometrial Ablation (MEA)

Microwave Endometrial Ablation is a procedure, which uses electromagnetic waves to destroy the lining of the womb and stop heavy periods. The operation can be performed under either general or local anaesthetic. It takes about 15 minutes to complete, and as the probe is passed via a catheter through the cervix there is no need for surgery.

You can often go home the same day although you may find it is a little uncomfortable. Pain relief and antibiotics are usually prescribed and women can return to work within about ten days.

In some cases periods can stop altogether which is why it is not recommended for women who still wish to conceive.

Although this procedure is available on the NHS, not all hospitals will perform it. To find out those that do contact 0800 328 3025.

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Microwave endometrial ablation (MEA)

Microwave Endometrial Ablation or MEA has recently been recommended by NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) as an appropriate treatment for some women who suffer from heavy bleeding, provided that that appropriate protocols for patient selection, training and operative techniques were followed. You can view the full recommendations from NICE at their web site www.nice.org.uk .

Currently MEA is not available as a treatment method in the UK NHS – this is for commercial reasons.

However, MEA is not necessarily a replacement for hysterectomy as there may be some cases where it is not a suitable treatment.

101 book coverMEA uses heat from a microwave probe to remove or reduce the thickness of the lining of the womb. Almost every one of 600 women who had MEA treatment reported that their blood loss during a period was significantly reduced. Research evidence has indicated that blood loss was completely stopped in around 62% of cases. About 70% of the cases treated also found that their period pain disappeared or reduced significantly.

Once the probe has been inserted into the womb it is moved around from side to side and a temperature of 75 to 80ΒΊC is maintained. Patients are admitted as day cases as opposed to in-patient cases. The research has also shown that the average length of time that it takes to perform the surgery is 11-15 minutes.

After the surgery patients are expected to take between two to four days to recover.

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