How the Acessa Procedure Compares to LAAM for Fertility

Acessa versus LAAM for fertility

Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths that affect about 80% of women by age 50. They can show up inside or outside of the uterus and cause a multitude of severe symptoms, including heavy bleeding, pain and pelvic pressure and bloating.

For women of childbearing age who plan on becoming pregnant, the most concerning secondary condition is infertility. As fibroids grow, they can begin to block key organs that contribute to conception and disrupt the regular functioning of the uterus. Watching and waiting to see if fibroids grow — a common recommendation from many physicians — can result in much larger fibroids over time, more severe symptoms and a more complicated surgery to preserve fertility.

Because early detection of fibroids and swift removal can prevent long-term complications like infertility, it’s important to move forward with fibroid treatment options before trying to become pregnant — either naturally or through in vitro fertilization. Not all fibroid treatments are created equal, and one in particular — the Acessa procedure — is strongly discouraged for women who wish to retain their fertility options.

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The Acessa Procedure May Not Preserve Fertility

The Acessa Procedure is a fibroid treatment that uses a technology called radiofrequency ablation to cut off fibroids’ blood supply. The goal is to stop the growth by inserting a tool laparoscopically to heat each fibroid to a temperature that halts the blood flow. The heated tissue is then supposed to shrink or be reabsorbed by the body over time — though, for larger fibroids, this is usually not the case.

The problem with the Acessa procedure for women looking to become pregnant is it doesn’t remove fibroids from the uterus. Even if a fibroid is no longer growing, it can still be impacting the organs involved in conception and increasing the risk of pregnancy complications. Leaving “dead” fibroids intact can ensure severe symptoms like pelvic pain and pressure continue after treatment. If a patient becomes pregnant after undergoing Acessa, those leftover fibroids can crowd the uterus and potentially cause a miscarriage or pregnancy loss.

Some patients are nervous to undergo a major procedure like a traditional open myomectomy, so they seek out nonsurgical options. Acessa is often referred to as a “nonsurgical option,” but this is incorrect because it’s still a surgery. Patients go under general anesthesia and surgeons make a few incisions to insert tools that will burn each fibroid.

To maintain the integrity of the uterus in a way that makes pregnancy both possible and successful, the recommended fibroid treatment is a minimally invasive myomectomy.

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CIGC’s LAAM Procedure: Maintain Your Fertility Options

CIGC’s Laparoscopically Assisted Abdominal Myomectomy (LAAM®) is a groundbreaking minimally invasive procedure for women who wish to become pregnant in the future. The LAAM procedure allows highly skilled surgeons to remove uterine fibroids of any size at any location in the uterus.

The procedure is minimally invasive and only involves two small incisions — one about 0.25 to 0.33 of an inch at the belly button and the other about 1.5 inches on the bikini line — that leave virtually invisible scars. Patients are able to return home just a few hours after surgery without the need for a lengthy hospital stay. Research shows the LAAM procedure is superior to many other types of fibroid removal surgeries, including robotic myomectomy, standard laparoscopic myomectomy and open abdominal procedures.

During the LAAM procedure, surgeons have a magnified view of the entire pelvis, giving them the ability to spot any secondary conditions or issues that may also impact fertility chances. Endometriosis is a common secondary condition found in women with fibroids. If a CIGC specialist finds evidence of endometriosis during a LAAM procedure, they are able to excise it — cut it out using special scissors called laparoscopic shears — during the same surgery. Endometriosis and other conditions are often missed during other procedures, especially during open abdominal myomectomies. If small endometriosis lesions are located behind the uterus and ovaries, they can be missed in open surgeries.

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Create the Family of Your Dreams

While it is possible for women with fibroids to become pregnant, removing fibroids with the LAAM procedure before moving forward with either fertility treatments or trying to conceive naturally will give you the best chance of successfully creating the family of your dreams.

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CIGC is dedicated to helping women find relief from complex GYN conditions, many of which affect fertility and family planning desires. The CIGC founders, minimally invasive GYN surgical specialists Paul MacKoul, MD, and Natalya Danilyants, MD, developed their advanced GYN surgical techniques using only two small incisions with patients’ well-being in mind.

Their personalized approach to care helps patients gain a better understanding of their condition and the recommended treatment so they can have confidence from the very start. Our surgeons have performed more than 25,000 GYN procedures and are constantly striving to improve outcomes for patients.