Characterization of tissue stiffness to improve the diagnosis and management of uterine fibroids

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Characterization of tissue stiffness to improve the diagnosis and management of uterine fibroids 2019-07-06T00:00:03+00:00

Project Description

Uterine fibroids are the most common gynecological condition, accounting for 1/3 of all visits to gynecologists in Canada, and can cause severe symptoms including pain, bleeding, and infertility.  Due to potential risks associated with surgery, medical therapies are becoming more favorable, yet not all patients respond to medical therapy and side-effects are also a concern. To improve treatment efficacy and efficiency, it is imperative we better understand which patients will benefit from medical therapies and which will not such that patient outcomes can be optimized. Due to variable amounts of fibrous tissue, uterine fibroids often differ in appearance upon gross examination. These variations in appearance may impact fibroid growth rate and response to medical therapy. Unfortunately, identifying the different types of fibroids non-invasively is a current clinical challenge. Since tissue appearance and composition often relate to tissue stiffness, a new imaging modality called shear wave elastography (SWE) may allow physicians to non-invasively assess fibroid tissue types and potential response to treatment to aid in management decisions. Our research goal is to understand if and how tissue stiffness of unaffected and fibroid uterine tissue, measured by SWE, may predict or monitor response to medical therapy in patients with symptomatic uterine fibroids. This study specifically aims to assess 1) if SWE is a valid and reliable tool for measuring uterine tissue stiffness; 2) if SWE is sensitive enough to classify uterine fibroid sub-types; and 3) if SWE can be used to differentiate patient responsiveness to medical therapy in women with symptomatic uterine fibroids.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Age 18 years+
  • No known history of gynecological issues affecting the uterus
  • Regular menstruel cycles
  • Cannot be currently pregnant
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