Dr. Alison E. Sambrook of Aberdeen University and colleagues observed that endometrial ablation has been adapted widely for the surgical treatment of heavy menstrual loss. But there are few trials comparing second generation ablation techniques.

The researchers conducted a randomized trial for further verification of the findings in 157 women treated with microwave endometrial ablation and 157 with thermal balloon ablation. These are the most commonly used second generation techniques in Uk.

The researchers conducted questionnaires preoperatively, post treatment, and at 2 weeks, 6 months and 1 year after the procedure.

At 2 weeks, the microwave group (81%) and the thermal balloon group (87%)described their treatment as totally or generally acceptable and at 12 months corresponding proportions were 76% of microwave-treated women and 77% of balloon-treated patients. Menstrual outcomes between the two groups at 12 months were comparable.

The team reported that there was only 1 microwave device failure and 11 device failures in the thermal balloon group. Moreover, there was significantly less mean operative time in the microwave group, and at 6:00 after the procedure, 79% of microwave patients were ready for discharge, compared to 68% of the thermal balloon patients.

The team concluded that both treatments are effective and well received, but microwave is quicker to perform with faster hospital discharge.

As Dr. Sambrook told, the 12-month results are encouraging for both techniques. Further valuable information will be provided following 5-year follow up of this group of women.