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New, in-office procedure helps many women avoid both hysterectomy and hospitalization

Friday, June 30, 2006

KINGSPORT, Tenn. - Balloon therapy can end the burden of heavy periods at a modest cost.

Holston Medical Group’s two obstetric & gynecology practices—Blue Ridge Obstetrics & Gynecology (Kingsport) and Highlands Physicians for Women (Bristol)—are the first in the region to begin offering an “in-office” procedure that can help women avoid a hysterectomy.

More than 10 million American women suffer from excessive menstrual bleeding or heavy periods, a condition known as menorrhagia. In fact, more than 20 percent of the 600,000 hysterectomies performed annually in the United States are to treat heavy periods.

Yet, until now, women opting for uterine balloon therapy, a hysterectomy alternative procedure, still faced outpatient surgery and its accompanying fees for hospitalization. Now, an in-office treatment called GYNECARE THERMACHOICE* Uterine Balloon Therapy System can help women suffering with heavy periods avoid a hysterectomy and skip the hospital altogether.

“This is both an incredible convenience and an incredible cost-savings for patients,” explained HMG President & Founder Jerry L. Miller, MD. “Not only is the procedure performed easily and quickly within the physician’s office, the patient’s financial responsibility is only that of an in-office co-pay.”

The in-office GYNECARE THERMACHOICE* Uterine Balloon Therapy System preserves the uterus and requires no incision. Recovery is fast and women can typically return to their normal activities the next day.

“Heavy periods, month after month, can significantly impact a woman’s quality of life,“ said HMG obstetrician & gynecologist Scott R. Fowler, MD, FACOG. “Many women think that a hysterectomy is their only option to treat the problem, but uterine balloon therapy has proven to be a safe and effective way to reduce the burden of heavy periods.“

GYNECARE THERMACHOICE is an option for pre-menopausal women who have completed childbearing. It can be performed in a physician’s office using a local anesthetic. During the treatment a balloon catheter is inserted into the uterus and inflated with a small amount of sterile fluid that is heated for eight minutes to break down the uterine lining. When the treatment cycle is completed, all the fluid is withdrawn from the balloon and the catheter is removed. Nothing stays in the uterus. The uterine lining has been treated and will slough off like a period in the next seven to 10 days.

According to Dr. Fowler, GYNECARE THERMACHOICE uterine balloon therapy has been available in the United States since 1998 and has been used to treat more than 400,000 women worldwide.

In most women, the treatment will reduce menstrual bleeding to a moderate or light, manageable flow. Some women may experience spotting, while other women may stop bleeding altogether (amenorrhea). Clinical data also shows 78 percent of the women evaluated three years after treatment are free from significant menstrual pain and cramping.

A five-year follow up study of women previously treated with GYNECARE THERMACHOICE shows that 95 percent still reported normal bleeding or less*, and 93 percent remained satisfied with the treatment. Overall, nearly 7 out of 10 patients avoided further surgical intervention, such as hysterectomy, to treat their menorrhagia. GYNECARE THERMACHOICE Uterine Balloon Therapy is not recommended for women who still want to have children. Since there is a chance pregnancy could occur, contraception or sterilization should be used after treatment. As always, please talk with your doctor concerning medical risks.

GYNECARE THERMACHOICE Uterine Balloon Therapy is marketed by ETHICON Women’s Health & Urology, a division of ETHICON, INC., a Johnson & Johnson company. ETHICON Women's Health and Urology is dedicated to providing innovative, minimally invasive treatments for common urologic and women's health conditions. For more information visit www.gynecare.com

 Dr. Fowler

Related Links:

Visit the Gynecare Website
View Dr. Fowler's HMG Profile Page

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2323 N. John B. Dennis Highway
Kingsport, Tennessee 37660
(423) 857-2000

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