Hysterectomy Treatment with Photodynamic Therapy

Many women are troubled by heavy and painful periods. Hysterectomy ‘cures’ the problem, but is a major surgical procedure with physical and emotional issues associated with it. Other treatments have been developed that do not require removal of the uterus, but none are generally seen as entirely satisfactory. In laboratory tests, PDT looks very promising and is ready for clinical trials. The key attractions are that PDT is simple and safe and does not require trans-cervical resection of the endometrium (TCRE).

The PDT procedure is described as endometrial ablation. The PDT drug will be sprayed in a fine mist into the uterus, and will be absorbed into the endometrium. The light ‘activation’ will be via a small fibre-optic light placed inside the womb via the cervix, with the light provided from a small LED. There will not be any need for any surgery or needles through the tummy. Following the drug being administered, the LED can be switched on, and be worn on the belt of a skirt or trousers as the patient return to home or to work for the day. The LED will remain in place for several hours. The procedure will destroy the living cells that shed once a month, and the patient would have one final period.

Other than avoiding surgery and the implications of substantial tissue loss, internal reconstruction and internal and external scars, this procedure can clearly be completed within the day without any hospital stay and anaesthetic. Live tissue samples have been tested in the lab with this procedure, with the results leading the UK team to believe that PDT could be refined as a very quick, cheap and more acceptable option for suitable patients wanting to avoid the rigours of surgery.

While the procedure is intended to offer an alternative to hysterectomy, it could also be a technique that would be much simpler and safer than tubal ligation sterilisation. The trials are expected to involve partner hospitals in the UK, across Europe and North America, with the trial probably costing in the region of £2.5m to complete.