Scientists have developed a non-invasive treatment for non-cancerous growths in the uterus.
The Mayo-Clinic-led study found that a new method, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), can provide long-term relief from the symptoms of uterine tumours with a low rate of serious side-effects.
Sufferers can experience severe abdominal and leg pain, excessive menstrual bleeding and abdominal bloating.
MRI is unique among alternatives to hysterectomy in that it does not depend on the insertion of devices, needles or catheters into the body.
Instead, high-energy sound waves directly target fibroid tissues. Thermal energy destroys the growths, while preserving healthy tissue.
Elizabeth Stewart, the study's lead author, said: "Up to one-third of women who undergo alternatives to hysterectomy to treat fibroids experience recurrence of fibroids, so demonstrating the durability of [MRI-guided] focused ultrasound is important.
"Our study does this by examining rates of subsequent surgery for fibroid tumor symptoms and other key outcomes such as uterine shrinkage."
All 359 women who participated in the study had experienced severe fibroid tumour symptoms.