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 appropriate protocols for patient selection, training, and operative techniques were followed. You can view the full recommendations from NICE at their website 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.
MEA 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 80ºC 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.