Saint Vincent Hospital is First Site in New England to Offer Women Innovative Water Vapor Ablation Procedure to Treat Excessive Menstrual Bleeding

Apr 2, 2024

Saint Vincent Hospital is the first site in New England to offer the Mara endometrial ablation procedure for women who suffer from excessive menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia), using heated water vapor to ablate the lining of the uterus. The procedure offers a gentler alternative to traditional uterine ablation for a wider selection of female patients.

Apurva Shah, MD, chief of the hospital’s OB/GYN department, performed the first procedure using the Mara technology at Saint Vincent Hospital in late February. According to Dr. Shah, clinical study data demonstrates that the Mara treatment safely and effectively reduces heavy menstrual bleeding and improves quality of life.

“One of the major benefits of the Mara treatment compared to other endometrial ablation procedures is that this method does not lead to adhesions which close off the uterine cavity,” says Dr. Shah. “That’s important because if there is ever a concern in the future, such as a recurrence of heavy bleeding, we can access the uterus again for reevaluation. Most other ablation procedures will typically scar the lining completely and prevent access to the cavity for reevaluation.”

During the two-minute outpatient Mara ablation cycle, performed without the need for general anesthesia, a small probe with a soft, flexible tip is inserted into the uterine cavity, which is then gently sealed. Heated water vapor from the probe expands inside the cavity to ablate the lining of the uterus. This natural expansion of the water vapor allows the Mara device to conform to the unique anatomy of each patient’s uterine cavity, including women with anatomical uterine conditions that might make them unable to undergo traditional endometrial ablation.

In place of general anesthesia, patients only need a preoperative analgesic and a local anesthetic. They are monitored for 30 minutes after the procedure, before going home. “In terms of patient tolerance, this procedure seems to be very well tolerated – our first patient literally had no pain,” Dr. Shah states. “It only takes about two minutes for the Mara device to ablate the lining of the uterus. And following the procedure, up to 80-90% of patients will have significantly reduced to no bleeding afterward.”

He adds, “The Mara treatment makes ablation technology much more accessible to women generally because it’s an easily scheduled outpatient procedure. No woman needs to suffer from excessive bleeding when treatment is available to resolve it.”

According to the CDC, menorrhagia affects more than 10 million American women each year, or approximately one out of every five women.

“Saint Vincent Hospital is excited to be able to offer this innovative procedure, which provides a better patient experience and positive outcomes for a condition that has a significant impact on many women’s lives,” says Michele Sinopoli, MD, Saint Vincent Hospital’s Chief Medical Officer. “We are committed to bringing these kinds of advanced technologies and treatments to help meet the healthcare needs of our community.”

Patients who may be eligible for the Mara procedure typically have abnormally long-lasting or heavy periods, are not planning to have additional children, are premenopausal, and have bleeding due to benign causes. Patients who may not be eligible for the procedure include women who want to get pregnant and women who have had past surgery for uterine fibroids, among other conditions that would make them ineligible.

To schedule an appointment with one of our OB/GYN specialists, please call (866) 494-3627.

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