CAM 40104

Endometrial Ablation

Category:Ob/Gyn/Reproduction   Last Reviewed:September 2019
Department(s):Medical Affairs   Next Review:September 2999
Original Date:December 1995    

Description:
Endometrial ablation is a potential alternative to hysterectomy for treatment of abnormal uterine bleeding. When considering treatment, two techniques present themselves: the hysteroscopic technique (e.g., Nd-YAG laser, electrosurgical rollerball) and the nonhysteroscopic techniques (e.g., cryosurgical, radiofrequency ablation).

For individuals who have abnormal uterine bleeding and have failed hormonal therapy who receive endometrial ablation, the evidence includes randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and systematic reviews. Relevant outcomes are symptoms, quality of life, resource utilization, and treatment-related morbidity. RCTs and systematic reviews of RCT data have found that hysterectomy provided greater symptom relief and fewer reoperations than endometrial ablation, but that endometrial ablation resulted in a reasonable level of symptom control and the procedure has some advantages over hysterectomy (e.g., women retain their uterus and avoid a more invasive procedure). A meta-analysis of RCTs has suggested similar benefits with first-generation (hysteroscopic) techniques and second-generation (mainly nonhysteroscopic) techniques. The evidence is sufficient to determine that the technology results in a meaningful improvement in the net health outcome.

Background 
Ablation or destruction of the endometrium is used to treat abnormal uterine bleeding in women who have failed standard therapy. It is considered a less invasive alternative than hysterectomy; however, as with hysterectomy, the procedure is not recommended for women who want to preserve fertility.

Multiple energy sources have been used, which include: a Nd-YAG laser; a resecting loop using electric current; an electric rollerball; and thermal ablation devices. Endometrial ablation is typically preceded by hormonal treatment to thin the endometrium.

Techniques for endometrial ablation are generally divided into 2 categories: those that do require hysteroscopic procedures and those that do not (other terminology for these categories of techniques includes first-generation vs second-generation procedures and resectoscopic vs nonresectoscopic endometrial ablation methods). Hysteroscopic techniques were developed first; the initial technique was photo-vaporization of the endometrium using an Nd-YAG laser, and this was followed by electrosurgical ablation using an electrical rollerball or electrical wire loop (the latter technique is also known as transcervical resection of the endometrium). Hydrothermal ablation also involves hysteroscopy. Hysteroscopic techniques require skilled surgeons and, due to the requirement for cervical dilation, the use of general or regional anesthesia. In addition, the need for the instillation of hypotonic distension media creates a risk of pulmonary edema and hyponatremia, which requires very accurate fluid monitoring.

Nonhysteroscopic techniques can be performed without general anesthesia and do not involve use of a fluid distention medium. Techniques include a thermal fluid-filled balloon, cryosurgical endometrial ablation, instillation of heated saline, and radiofrequency ablation.

There are concerns about morbidity and mortality for both the mother and the fetus when becoming pregnant after endometrial ablation. Thus, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of endometrial ablation devices includes only women for whom childbearing is complete.

Regulatory Status 
Endometrial devices have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration through the premarket approval process for use in premenopausal women who are no longer bearing children and experiencing abnormal uterine bleeding due to benign causes. These devices include, but may not be limited to, laser:therapy, electrical wire loop, rollerball using electric current, and thermal ablation using a liquid-filled balloon, microwave, electrode array, or a cryosurgical device. Table 1 provides examples of devices for endometrial ablation.

Table 1. Endometrial Ablation Devices Approved by the Food and Drug Administration

Device Manufacturer Method/Energy Source Date Cleared PMA No
ThermaChoice® Uterine Balloon Therapy Gynecare Nonhysteroscopic/heated 5% dextrose in water filled balloon 12/12/97 P970021
Hydro ThermAblator® Endometrial Ablation System Boston Scientific Hysteroscopic/closed loop/heated saline 04/20/01 P000040
Genesys HTA™ System     04/23/10 P000040 S014
Her Option™ System Cooper Surgical Nonhysteroscopic/cryoablation 04/20/01 P000032
NovaSure Impedance Controlled Endometrial Ablation System Hologic Nonhysteroscopic/radiofrequency 09/28/01 P010013
Microsulis Microwave Endometrial Ablation (MEA) System Microsulis Medical Nonhysteroscopic/microwave 09/23/03 P020031
Minerva Endometrial Ablation System Minerva Surgical Nonhysteroscopic/radiofrequency 07/27/15 P140013
AEGEA Vapor System™ AEGEA Medical Nonhysteroscopic/heated water vapor 06/14/17 P160047

 PMA: premarket approval.

Heated Fluid Devices: 

  • The ThermaChoice® device ablates endometrial tissue by thermal energy heating of sterile injectable fluid within a silicone balloon. Endometrial ablation will only work when there is direct contact between the endometrial wall and the fluid-filled balloon. Therefore, patients with uteri of abnormal shape, resulting from tumors such as myomas or polyps, or large size, due to fibroids, are generally not considered candidates for this procedure. 
  • The Genesys HTA™ System involves the instillation and circulation of heated saline into the uterus using hysteroscopic guidance and includes features such as a smaller console and simplified set-up requirements.

Cryoablation Devices: 

  • Her Option™ Uterine Cryoablation Therapy system consists of, in part, a cryoprobe that is inserted through the cervix into the endometrial cavity. When cooled, an ice ball forms around the probe, which permanently destroys endometrial tissue. Cryoablation is typically monitored by abdominal ultrasound.

Radiofrequency Devices: 

  • The Microwave Endometrial Ablation (MEA) System delivers fixed-frequency microwave energy, may be performed in a physician’s office, and requires the use of the hysteroscope. 
  • The NovaSure™ Impedance Controlled Endometrial Ablation System consists of an electrode array on a stretchable porous fabric that conforms to the endometrial surface.

Food and Drug Administration product code: MNB.  

Policy:
Endometrial ablation, with or without hysteroscopic guidance, using an FDA-approved device, may be considered MEDICALLY NECESSARY in women with abnormal uterine bleeding who are not candidates for, or who are unresponsive to, hormone therapy and would otherwise be considered candidates for hysterectomy.

Note: Intrauterine ablation or resection of the endometrium should not be confused with laparoscopic laser ablation of intraperitoneal endometriosis. This policy does not address laparoscopic intraperitoneal ablation.

Endometrial ablation is considered INVESTIGATIONAL for all other indications.

Policy Guidelines:
Intrauterine ablation or resection of the endometrium should not be confused with laparoscopic laser ablation of intraperitoneal endometriosis. This policy does not address laparoscopic intraperitoneal ablation.

Contraindications for intrauterine ablation or resection of the endometrium include:

  • Patient who is pregnant or desires pregnancy 
  • History of endometrial cancer or precancerous histology 
  • Patient with an active genital or urinary tract infection at the time of the procedure 
  • Patient with active pelvic inflammatory disease 
  • Patient with an intrauterine device currently in place 
  • Patient with any anatomic or pathologic condition in which weakness of the myometrium could exist, such as history of previous classical cesarean sections or transmural myomectomy  

Other contraindications for microwave ablation include myometrial thickness less than 10 mm, and uterine sounding length less than 6 cm. 

Benefit Application
BlueCard®/National Account Issues
Microwave ablation, thermal ablation and cryoablation may be performed in an office setting.

Rationale
This evidence review was created in December 1995 and has been updated regularly with searches of the MEDLINE database. The most recent literature update was performed through June 4, 2018.

This review was informed by a TEC Assessment (1991). 2

Evidence reviews assess the clinical evidence to determine whether the use of a technology improves the net health outcome. Broadly defined, health outcomes are length of life, quality of life, and ability to function — including benefits and harms. Every clinical condition has specific outcomes that are important to patients and to managing the course of that condition. Validated outcome measures are necessary to ascertain whether a condition improves or worsens; and whether the magnitude of that change is clinically significant. The net health outcome is a balance of benefits and harms.

To assess whether the evidence is sufficient to draw conclusions about the net health outcome of a technology, 2 domains are examined: the relevance and the quality and credibility. To be relevant, studies must represent one or more intended clinical uses of the technology in the intended population and compare an effective and appropriate alternative at a comparable intensity. For some conditions, the alternative will be supportive care or surveillance. The quality and credibility of the evidence depend on study design and conduct, minimizing bias and confounding that can generate incorrect findings. The randomized controlled trial (RCT) is preferred to assess efficacy; however, in some circumstances, nonrandomized studies may be adequate. RCTs are rarely large enough or long enough to capture less common adverse events and long-term effects. Other types of studies can be used for these purposes and to assess generalizability to broader clinical populations and settings of clinical practice.

ENDOMETRIAL ABLATION

Clinical Context and Therapy Purpose
The purpose of endometrial ablation in patients who have abnormal uterine bleeding and have failed hormonal treatment is to provide a treatment option that is an alternative to or an improvement on existing therapies.

The question addressed in this evidence review is: Does endometrial ablation improve the net health outcome in women with abnormal uterine bleeding?

The following PICOTS were used to select literature to inform this review.

 Patients
The relevant population of interest is women with abnormal uterine bleeding who have failed standard medical and hormonal therapy.

Interventions
The therapy being considered is endometrial ablation using an energy source. Energy sources include an Nd-YAG laser; a resecting loop using electric current; an electric rollerball; and thermal ablation devices.

Endometrial ablation is considered a less invasive alternative than hysterectomy. Endometrial ablation is not recommended for women who want to preserve fertility. Endometrial ablation is typically preceded by hormonal treatment to thin the endometrium.

Comparators
The following practice is currently being used to treat abnormal uterine bleeding: hysterectomy.

Outcomes
The general outcomes of interest are level of bleeding (e.g., light, moderate, heavy), amenorrhea, quality of life due to bleeding, as well as acute and long-term adverse events of the treatment and subsequent need for hysterectomy.

Timing
Morbidity due to the procedure should be assessed in the first month. Follow-up is needed for a minimum of 1 year.

Setting
Endometrial ablation is administered in an outpatient care by a specialist.

Endometrial Ablation vs Hysterectomy

Systematic Reviews
A systematic review of RCTs by Matteson et al (2012) compared the efficacy of a hysterectomy with less invasive techniques for controlling abnormal uterine bleeding.3 Reviewers identified 9 trials reporting health outcomes, seven of which compared a hysterectomy with endometrial ablation. For the 7 studies selected (total N=1167 women), follow-up ranged from 4 to 48 months. Due to the heterogeneity of outcome measures, study findings were not pooled. Following treatment, amenorrhea rates in the endometrial ablation groups ranged from 13% to 64% vs an implied 100% rate after a hysterectomy. Five trials reported pain beyond the immediate postoperative period. Reviewers judged the quality of evidence on pain to be low, with results favoring a hysterectomy over ablation. Three studies reported that pelvic pain was less prevalent in the hysterectomy group than in the ablation group; however, only 1 study compared rates statistically, and that study found a significantly lower rate of pain at between 2-year and 3-year follow-up in the group receiving a hysterectomy. All 7 trials reported additional treatments obtained by participants after the initial intervention. At between 1-year and 4-year follow-up, the proportion of women in the ablation group who had an additional surgical procedure for bleeding ranged from 16% to 42%; of these, 10% to 29% were treated with a hysterectomy.

Bhattacharya et al (2011) conducted a systematic review of individual patient data from RCTs evaluating second-line treatments for abnormal uterine bleeding on behalf of the U.K. Health Technology Assessment program.4 Reviewers identified data on 1,127 women from 7 trials comparing first-generation ablative devices with a hysterectomy (a limitation of this review is that individual patient data were not available for approximately 35% of women randomized in the trials). The most frequently measured outcome was patient satisfaction/dissatisfaction, and this measure was used as the primary outcome of the meta-analysis. After 12-month follow-up, 7.3% (57/454) of women treated with first-generation endometrial ablation devices and 5.3% (23/432) of women who had a hysterectomy were dissatisfied with their treatment outcome. This difference was statistically significant, favoring a hysterectomy (odds ratio [OR], 2.46; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.54 to 3.93; p<0.001).

Additionally, Bhattacharya et al (2011) analyzed individual patient data from national databases in Scotland to evaluate long-term outcomes after a hysterectomy or endometrial ablation. Reviewers identified 37,120 women who underwent a hysterectomy and 11,299 women who underwent endometrial ablation for dysfunctional uterine bleeding between 1989 and 2006. Women who received endometrial ablation were significantly older (mean, 42.5 years) than those receiving hysterectomy (mean, 41.0 years). The type of endometrial ablation device used could not be determined. The median duration of follow-up was 6.2 years in the endometrial ablation group and 11.6 years in the hysterectomy group. During follow-up, 962 (8.5%) women who received endometrial ablation had additional gynecologic surgery compared with 1446 (3.9%) women who had a hysterectomy; this difference was statistically significant (adjusted hazard ratio [HR], 3.56; 95% CI, 3.26 to 3.89). The most common types of additional surgery after endometrial ablation were intrauterine procedures (n=577 [5.1%]) and repeat endometrial ablation (n=278 [2.5%]). However, women who had initial endometrial ablation procedures were significantly less likely than those with initial hysterectomies to have surgery for pelvic floor repair (0.9% vs 2.2%, respectively; adjusted HR range, 0.50-0.77). Women were also less likely to have tension-free vaginal tape surgery for stress urinary incontinence after endometrial ablation (0.5%) than after hysterectomy (0 1.1%; adjusted HR=0.55; 95% CI, 0.41 to 0.74).

Randomized Controlled Trials
The RCT with the longest follow-up is that by Zupi et al (2015), who published 15-year results.5 The trial, which started in 1995, randomized 203 women with abnormal uterine bleeding, unresponsive to medical therapy, to endometrial ablation or laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy. A total of 181 women underwent the assigned treatment, and 153 (85%) were included in the long-term follow-up analysis. After a mean of 14.4 years, the reoperation rate was significantly higher in the endometrial ablation group (20/71 [28.1%]) than in the hysterectomy group (0/71; p<0.001). All 20 women who had repeat surgery had second ablation procedures, and 15 of them had a hysterectomy for relapse of symptoms. Quality of life measures favored the hysterectomy group. Scores on both Physical and Mental Component Summary scores of the 12-Item Short-Form Health Survey were significantly higher in the hysterectomy group than in the endometrial ablation group (p<0.001). However, looking at the data from a different perspective, more than 70% of the women were spared a hysterectomy. Moreover, it is not known whether the lower quality of life scores were reported by all women in the endometrial ablation group or primarily by women who had reoperations because results were not stratified by reoperation status.

Subsection Summary: Endometrial Ablation vs Hysterectomy
The evidence has suggested better outcomes (e.g., bleeding control, pelvic pain) and fewer additional surgeries in women who have a hysterectomy than endometrial ablation. However, endometrial ablation is less invasive and involves retention of the uterus. Most studies comparing hysterectomy with endometrial ablation used first-generation ablative techniques; there is less evidence comparing hysterectomy with second-generation techniques. 

Different Endometrial Ablation Methods

Systematic Reviews
Numerous RCTs and several systematic reviews of RCTs have compared different methods of endometrial ablation. Angioni et al (2016) published a systematic review comparing first- with secondgeneration endometrial ablation techniques.6 Reviewers did not find evidence that either group of techniques is clearly superior to the other; there were similar rates of efficacy and patient satisfaction. Moreover, some adverse events (eg, perforation, cervical laceration) were more common with firstgeneration techniques and others (e.g., uterine cramping, pain) were more common with secondgeneration techniques. 

A Cochrane review by Lethaby et al (2013) included RCTs that compared 2 ablation techniques or compared first- with second-generation techniques. 7 Primary outcomes were change in menstrual bleeding and rates of patient satisfaction. Twenty-five studies (total N=4,056 premenopausal women) were eligible for the review. Seven of the studies were multicenter; 6 of them were based in the United States. Nineteen of the trials required women to have completed their families, 12 excluded women with fibroids, and 14 required women to have been unable to tolerate or to have failed to respond to medical therapy. Five of the trials compared 2 first-generation ablation techniques, and 5 compared second-generation techniques. Fourteen trials compared second-generation with first-generation methods. Sixteen trials had adequate randomization methods, but, in most trials, blinding was not performed or not reported.

There were only a few studies on any given comparison of techniques; the exception was balloon (second-generation) vs rollerball (first-generation) ablation (3 studies; n=352 patients). A pooled analysis of these 3 studies found a statistically significant lower rate of amenorrhea at 1 year with rollerball than with balloon ablation (OR=0.63; 95% CI, 0.41 to 0.97); the absolute rates of amenorrhea were 16% in the balloon ablation group and 24% in the rollerball group. However, there was no significant difference between groups in the satisfaction rate at 1 year (OR=0.99; 95% CI, 0.93 to 1.06).

Reviewers also conducted an overall analysis of studies comparing first- with second-generation techniques. A pooled analysis of 12 studies (n=2,085 patients) did not find a statistically significant difference in the rates of amenorrhea at 1 year (OR=0.94; 95% CI, 0.74 to 1.20). The absolute rates of amenorrhea were 38% with first-generation procedures and 37% with second-generation procedures. Eleven studies reported satisfaction rates at 1 year, again with no statistically significant difference between first- and second-generation techniques (OR=1.00; 95% CI, 0.97 to 1.02). The absolute rates of satisfaction were high in both groups. Pooled analysis of adverse events did not find any significant differences in the rates of perforation (8 studies), endometritis (5 studies), or hemorrhage (5 studies) using first- vs second-generation ablation techniques. Rates of fluid overload (4 studies), cervical lacerations (8 studies), and hematometra (5 studies) were significantly higher with first-generation techniques than with second-generation techniques. Reviewers concluded that, overall, the existing evidence suggested that success and complication rate profiles of second-generation techniques compared a favorably with the first-generation hysteroscopic techniques.

In a network meta-analysis, Daniels et al (2012) identified 14 trials comparing first- with secondgeneration methods and 5 trials comparing 2 second-generation methods of endometrial ablation for women who had heavy menstrual bleeding unresponsive to medical therapy.8 In their analysis, reviewers compared the efficacy of each pair of techniques; only a few pooled comparisons included data from more than 1 trial. Eight studies compared a first-generation technique with thermal balloon ablation (n=516 patients). A pooled analysis of these studies did not find a significant difference in amenorrhea rates with the 2 techniques (OR=0.72; 95% CI, 0.52 to 1.101). In addition, 3 studies compared the second-generation techniques, thermal balloon ablation and bipolar radiofrequency ablation (RFA; n=264 patients). A pooled analysis showed a higher rate of amenorrhea with bipolar RFA (OR=4.56; 95% CI, 2.24 to 9.26).

The assessment by Bhattacharya et al (2011; described earlier) also compared different first- and second-generation endometrial ablation devices. 4 They identified data on 2,448 women from 14 trials. When first- and second-generation endometrial ablation devices were compared, there was no significant difference between groups in the rates of amenorrhea after 12 months. When findings from 13 studies were pooled, rates of amenorrhea were 326 (36%) in 899 with first-generation devices and 464 (37%) in 1261 with second-generation devices (OR=1.12; 95% CI, 0.93 to 1.35). Data were insufficient to conduct meta-analyses of longer term amenorrhea rates. Similarly, the rates of abnormal uterine bleeding after 12 months did not differ between groups. In a pooled analysis of 12 studies, rates were 111 (12.3%) in 899 with first-generation devices and 151 (11.8%) in 1281 after second-generation devices (pooled OR=0.97; 95% CI, 0.74 to 1.28). In addition, a pooled analysis of 6 studies did not find a significant difference in the number of repeat endometrial ablations over 12 months after initial treatment with first-generation (4/589 [0.7%]) or second-generation (4/880 [0.5%]) devices (OR=0.71; 95% CI, 0.17 to 2.94). The proportion of women requiring hysterectomy within 12 months of endometrial ablation did not differ significantly for firstgeneration (39/933 [4.2%]) or second-generation (35/1343 [2.6%]) devices (11 studies; OR=0.77; 95% CI, 0.47 to 1.24).

Randomized Controlled Trials
Representative RCTs with relatively long-term follow-up are described next. For example, a double-blind RCT by Sambrook et al (2014) reported on 5-year outcomes comparing microwave endometrial ablation with thermal balloon endometrial ablation (ThermaChoice).9 The trial included 320 premenopausal women with heavy menstrual bleeding who had completed childbearing. A total of 217 (59%) of 370 women responded to a written questionnaire at 5 years. The analysis was intention-to-treat, with nonresponders classified as treatment failures. Menstrual outcomes did not differ significantly between groups at 5 years. The rates of amenorrhea were 51% in the microwave ablation group and 45% in the thermal ablation group (mean difference, 6.4%; 95% CI, -4.7% to 17.4%). Moreover, the proportion of patients with light menstrual bleeding was 27% in the microwave ablation group and 33% in the thermal ablation group (mean difference, -5.8%; 95% CI, -18.0% to 6.4%). Ten (8.8%) women in the microwave ablation group and 7 (6.8%) women in the thermal ablation group subsequently had a hysterectomy. The between-group difference in the hysterectomy rate was not statistically significant (mean difference, 2.0%; 95% CI, -5.1% to 9.1%). 

Herman et al (2013) reported on 10-year follow-up for a double-blind RCT conducted in the Netherlands.10 The trial compared bipolar endometrial RFA (NovaSure) with balloon endometrial ablation (ThermaChoice) in 126 women who had heavy menstrual bleeding. Ten-year follow-up data were available for 69 (69%) of 83 in the RFA group and 35 (81%) of 43 in the balloon ablation group. At 10 years, the rate of amenorrhea (the primary outcome) was 50 (73%) of 69 in the RFA group and 23 (66%) of 35 in the balloon ablation group (relative risk, 1.1; 95% CI, 0.83 to 1.50). The long-term analysis was not intention-to-treat. Over the 10 years, 10 women in the RFA group and 5 women in the balloon ablation group underwent a hysterectomy (relative risk, 1.0; 95% CI, 0.69 to 1.49). 

Subsection Summary: Different Endometrial Ablation Methods
There is no clear evidence of a superior net health benefit with any method of endometrial ablation. Rates of abnormal uterine bleeding and patient satisfaction were generally similar after treatment with first- and second-generation devices. Meta-analyses of the available data from RCTs have suggested that there are higher rates of certain adverse events with first-generation techniques and higher rates of other adverse events with second-generation techniques. 

Safety
Brown and Blank (2012) analyzed adverse events associated with endometrial ablation procedures reported in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Manufacturer and User Facility Device Experience database.11 A total of 829 adverse events were reported between 2005 and 2011. Nearly two-thirds (540/829 [65%]) of the adverse events were genital tract or skin burns, and 529 (98%) of these events were associated with hydrothermal endometrial ablation. The next 2 most frequent types of adverse events were thermal bowel injury (93/820 [11%]) and transmural uterine thermal activity (89/820 [11%]). Of the 182 thermal injuries, 140 (77%) were associated with endometrial RFA. In addition, 47 instances of sepsis or bacteremia were reported, and 43 (91%) of these 47 cases were associated with endometrial RFA. Four deaths were reported, two associated with RFA and one each associated with thermal balloon ablation and cryoablation. Sixty-six (8%) of the 829 events occurred when endometrial ablation was performed outside of the labeled instructions for use of the procedure. The authors did not report the total number of endometrial ablations performed during this period, so the proportion of procedures with adverse events cannot be determined from these data. 

A study by Dood et al (2014) examined whether women who undergo endometrial ablation are at increased risk of endometrial cancer compared with those who had abnormal uterine bleeding managed with medication.12 Data were collected from a population-based cohort in the United States and included a total of 234,721 women with abnormal bleeding, 4,776 of whom underwent endometrial ablation. During a median follow-up of 4.1 years, 3 women with a history of endometrial ablation and 601 women treated medically developed endometrial cancer. There was no statistically significant difference in endometrial cancer rates between groups (age-adjusted HR=0.61; 95% CI, 0.20 to 1.89; p=0.17). Moreover, the median time to endometrial cancer diagnosis (237 days after ablation vs 299 days with medical management) did not differ significantly between groups. 

Subsection Summary: Safety
Adverse events have been associated with endometrial ablation procedures. Certain types of adverse events are more likely to occur with particular endometrial ablation techniques. Due to lack of information about the total number of procedures and the number of each type of endometrial ablation procedure performed, conclusions cannot be drawn from these data about the relative safety of different techniques. Endometrial ablation does not appear to increase the risk of subsequent endometrial cancer. 

SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE
For individuals who have abnormal uterine bleeding and have failed hormonal therapy who receive endometrial ablation, the evidence includes RCTs and systematic reviews. Relevant outcomes are symptoms, quality of life, resource utilization, and treatment-related morbidity. RCTs and systematic reviews of RCT data have found that hysterectomy provided greater symptom relief and fewer reoperations than endometrial ablation, but that endometrial ablation resulted in a reasonable level of symptom control and the procedure has some advantages over hysterectomy (eg, women retain their uterus and avoid a more invasive procedure). A meta-analysis of RCTs has suggested similar benefits with first-generation (hysteroscopic) techniques and second-generation (mainly nonhysteroscopic) techniques. The evidence is sufficient to determine that the technology results in a meaningful improvement in the net health outcome. 

 PRACTICE GUIDELINES AND POSITION STATEMENTS

Society for Gynecologic Surgeons
The Society for Gynecologic Surgeons (2012) published clinical practice guidelines on the treatment of abnormal uterine bleeding.13 The guidelines recommended that, in women with bleeding caused mainly by ovulatory disorders or endometrial hemostatic disorders, any of the following treatments may be chosen depending on patient values and preferences: hysterectomy, endometrial ablation, systemic medical therapies, or levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine systems. In choosing between endometrial ablation and a hysterectomy, if the patient’s preference is for amenorrhea, less pain, or avoiding additional therapy, a hysterectomy is suggested. If the patient’s preference is for lower operative and postoperative procedural risk, and a shorter hospital stay, endometrial ablation is recommended. 

American Society for Reproductive Medicine
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (2008) issued a statement on indications and options for endometrial ablation.14 Conclusions were:

  • “Endometrial ablation is an effective therapeutic option for the management of menorrhagia. 
  • Hysteroscopic and nonhysteroscopic techniques for endometrial ablation offer similar rates of symptom relief and patient satisfaction. 
  • Later definitive surgery may be required in 6% to 20% of women after endometrial ablation. 
  • Women who undergo hysterectomy after a failed endometrial ablation report significantly more satisfaction after 2 years of follow-up. 
  • Endometrial ablation generally is more effective when the endometrium is relatively thin. 
  • Ideally, hysteroscopic methods for endometrial ablation should be performed using a fluid monitoring system to reduce the risks and complications relating to fluid overload and electrolyte imbalance. 
  • Nonhysteroscopic methods for endometrial ablation require less skill and operating time.”

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (2013) issued an opinion on the management of acute abnormal uterine bleeding in nonpregnant women of reproductive age.15 The College recommended medical management as first-line treatment and stated that surgical management be considered for patients who failed or are not suitable for medical management, or who are not clinically stable. Endometrial ablation was listed as a surgical option, along with dilation and curettage, uterine artery embolization, and hysterectomy. The College stated that endometrial ablation should only be considered for patients who have failed other treatments or have a contraindication when women have no plans for future childbearing, and when endometrial and uterine cancer have been ruled out as the cause of acute uterine bleeding.

The College (2007) guidelines on endometrial ablation, affirmed in 2018, made recommendations assessed based on good and consistent evidence16: 

  • “For women with normal endometrial cavities, resectoscopic endometrial ablation and nonresectoscopic endometrial ablation systems appear to be equivalent with respect to successful reduction in menstrual flow and patient satisfaction at 1 year following index surgery. 
  • Resectoscopic endometrial ablation is associated with a high degree of patient satisfaction but not as high as hysterectomy.”

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s (2016) guidance on heavy menstrual bleeding included the following recommendations on endometrial ablation 17:

  • “Endometrial ablation should be considered in women with HMB [heavy menstrual bleeding] who have a normal uterus and also those with small uterine fibroids (less than 3 cm in diameter).” 
  • “In women with HMB alone, with uterus no bigger than a 10-week pregnancy, endometrial ablation is preferable to hysterectomy.” 
  • “Endometrial ablation may be offered as an initial treatment for HMB….” 
  • “First-generation techniques … are appropriate if hysteroscopic myomectomy is to be included in the procedure.” 
  • “The second-generation techniques recommended for consideration are as follows….
    • Impedance-controlled bipolar radiofrequency ablation…
    • Fluid-filled thermal balloon endometrial ablation…
    • Microwave endometrial ablation…
    • Free fluid thermal endometrial ablation.”

U.S. PREVENTIVE SERVICES TASK FORCE RECOMMENDATIONS
Not applicable.

ONGOING AND UNPUBLISHED CLINICAL TRIALS
A search of ClinicalTrials.gov in July 2018 did not identify any ongoing or unpublished trials that would likely influence this review.

References: 

  1. Matteson KA, Raker CA, Clark MA, et al. Abnormal uterine bleeding, health status, and usual source of medical care: analyses using the Medical Expenditures Panel Survey. J Womens Health (Larchmt). Nov 2013;22(11):959-965. PMID 24050455
  2. Blue Cross Blue Shield Association Technology Evaluation Center. Intrauterine ablation or resection of the endometrium for menorrhagia. 1991.
  3. 3. Matteson KA, Abed H, Wheeler TL, 2nd, et al. A systematic review comparing hysterectomy with less-invasive treatments for abnormal uterine bleeding. J Minim Invasive Gynecol. Jan-Feb 2012;19(1):13-28. PMID 22078015
  4. Bhattacharya S, Middleton LJ, Tsourapas A, et al. Hysterectomy, endometrial ablation and Mirena(R) for heavy menstrual bleeding: a systematic review of clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness analysis. Health Technol Assess. Apr 2011;15(19):iii-xvi, 1-252. PMID 21535970
  5. Zupi E, Centini G, Lazzeri L, et al. Hysteroscopic endometrial resection versus laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy for abnormal uterine bleeding: long-term follow-up of a randomized trial. J Minim Invasive Gynecol. Jul-Aug 2015;22(5):841-845. PMID 25881883
  6. Angioni S, Pontis A, Nappi L, et al. Endometrial ablation: first- vs. second-generation techniques. Minerva Ginecol. Apr 2016;68(2):143-153. PMID 26928420
  7. Lethaby A, Penninx J, Hickey M, et al. Endometrial resection and ablation techniques for heavy menstrual bleeding. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. Aug 30 2013;8(8):CD001501. PMID 23990373
  8. Daniels JP, Middleton LJ, Champaneria R, et al. Second generation endometrial ablation techniques for heavy menstrual bleeding: network meta-analysis. BMJ. Apr 23 2012;344:e2564. PMID 22529302
  9. Sambrook A, Elders A, Cooper K. Microwave endometrial ablation versus thermal balloon endometrial ablation (MEATBall): 5-year follow up of a randomised controlled trial. BJOG. May 2014;121(6):747-753. PMID 24506529
  10. Herman MC, Penninx JP, Mol BW, et al. Ten-year follow-up of a randomised controlled trial comparing bipolar endometrial ablation with balloon ablation for heavy menstrual bleeding. BJOG. Jul 2013;120(8):966-970. PMID 23759085
  11. Brown J, Blank K. Minimally invasive endometrial ablation device complications and use outside of the manufacturers' instructions. Obstet Gynecol. Oct 2012;120(4):865-870. PMID 22996104
  12. Dood RL, Gracia CR, Sammel MD, et al. Endometrial cancer after endometrial ablation vs medical management of abnormal uterine bleeding. J Minim Invasive Gynecol. Sep-Oct 2014;21(5):744-752. PMID 24590007
  13. Wheeler TL, 2nd, Murphy M, Rogers RG, et al. Clinical practice guideline for abnormal uterine bleeding: hysterectomy versus alternative therapy. J Minim Invasive Gynecol. Jan-Feb 2012;19(1):81-88. PMID 22078016
  14. Practice Committee of American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Indications and options for endometrial ablation. Fertil Steril. Nov 2008;90(5 Suppl):S236-240. PMID 19007637
  15. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Management of Acute Abnormal Uterine Bleeding in Non-Pregnant, Reproductive-Aged Women. Committee Opinion Number 557. 2013; http://www.acog.org/Resources-And-Publications/Committee-Opinions/Committee-on-GynecologicPractice/Management-of-Acute-Abnormal-Uterine-Bleeding-in-Nonpregnant-Reproductive-Aged-Women. Accessed July 16, 2018.
  16. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Endometrial ablation: 2007 ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 81. 2007; http://www.acog.org/Search?Keyword=Endometrial+Ablation. Accessed July 16, 2018.
  17. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). Heavy menstrual bleeding [CG44]. 2016; www.nice.org.uk/nicemedia/pdf/CG44NICEGuideline.pdf. Accessed July 16, 2018.

Coding Section

Codes Number Description

CPT

58353

Endometrial ablation, without hysteroscopic guidance

 

58356

Endometrial cryoablation with ultrasonic guidance, including endometrial curettage, when performed

 

58563

Hysteroscopy, surgical, with endometrial ablation (e.g., endometrial resection, electrosurgical ablation, thermoablation)

ICD-9 Procedure

68.23

Endometrial ablation

ICD-9 Diagnosis

626.2

Excessive or frequent menstruation (menorrhagia)

 

627.0

Premenopausal menorrhagia

HCPCS

No code

 

ICD-10-CM (effective 10/01/15)

N92.0-N92.4

Excessive, frequent and irregular menstruation; menorrhagia code range

ICD-10-PCS (effective 10/01/15)

 

ICD-10-PCS would only be used if the procedure is done inpatient.

 

0U5B0ZZ

Destruction, endometrium, open

 

0U5B3ZZ; 0U5B4ZZ

Destruction, endometrium, percutaneous, code list

 

0U5B7ZZ

Destruction, endometrium, via natural or artificial opening

 

0U5B8ZZ

Destruction, endometrium, via natural or artificial opening, endoscopic

Type of Service

Surgery

 

Place of Service

Outpatient

 

Procedure and diagnosis codes on Medical Policy documents are included only as a general reference tool for each policy. They may not be all-inclusive.  

This medical policy was developed through consideration of peer-reviewed medical literature generally recognized by the relevant medical community, U.S. FDA approval status, nationally accepted standards of medical practice and accepted standards of medical practice in this community, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association technology assessment program (TEC) and other non-affiliated technology evaluation centers, reference to federal regulations, other plan medical policies and accredited national guidelines.

"Current Procedural Terminology© American Medical Association.  All Rights Reserved" 

History From 2014 Forward     

09/01/2019 

Annual review, no change to policy intent. 

09/04/2018 

Annual review, no change to policy intent. Updating regulatory status, rationale and references. 

09/13/2017 

Annual review, no change to policy intent. Updating background, description, regulatory status, guidelines, rationale and references. 

09/01/2016 

Annual review, no change to policy intent. Updating background, description, regulatory status, rationale and references. 

09/03/2015 

Annual review, no change to policy intent. Updated background, description, rationale, references and coding.

09/17/2014

Annual review. Updated background/description, regulatory status, rationale and references. No change to policy intent. 


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