Cryoablation is a relatively new procedure that uses extremely cold liquid nitrogen to destroy benign tumors. Cryoablation is also used in some clinical trials (investigative research) to evaluate if it can also be used as a treatment option for malignant tumors.
Fibroadenomas are a type of benign breast tumor common among women in their reproductive years, although they can occur at any age. Depending on the situation, breast fibroadenomas can be regularly monitored.
However, some situations necessitate surgical excision. Indications for removal are patient preference, symptoms, a change in size or atypical appearance on imaging.
Cryoablation offers benefits over surgery in some of these situations. In the past, surgery has conventionally been the only option available for breast fibroadenoma treatment.
Especially in young women, cryoablation can be an appealing option to minimize surgical recovery time, the need for incisions and scars on the breast and in the breast tissue.
How does cryoablation of fibroadenomas work?
Should you choose to have a breast fibroadenoma removed, cryoablation is a minimally-invasive procedure with little risk. During the procedure, you will be required to remove clothing above your torso and a local anesthetic will be applied to your breast.
Ultrasound is used to produce images of internal breast tissue to direct the probe, which resembles a thin needle, to the location of the fibroadenoma. The probe, which is warm to the touch, will be inserted into your breast and removed when cryoablation is complete. The procedure typically takes 15 minutes or less.
Following the procedure, a lump will remain as healthy tissue regrows in place of the destroyed breast fibroadenoma. The lump usually will disappear, although the exact time it takes will depend on various factors.
What are the benefits of cryoablation compared to surgery?
Compared with surgery, there are several benefits to cryoablation:
- Cryoablation is generally more cost-effective.
- Cryoablation is a quicker procedure that requires minimal recovery and downtime.
- Cryoablation does not require surgical excision, which is more likely to create scarring or affect cosmetic appearance of the breast.
Who is cryoablation appropriate for?
In a many cases, a conservative approach to fibroadenoma management is recommended. This means returning every 6 to 12 months for ultrasound or mammography to monitor fibroadenomas for changes or growth. Fibroadenomas are noncancerous and are unlikely to increase risk for breast cancer. However, they can cause discomfort, pain and deformity.
The American Society of Breast Surgeons recognizes cryoablation of fibroadenoma as safe, efficacious and durable, and considers cryoablation an appropriate treatment option for fibroadenomas that are:
- Diagnosed by biopsy.
- Visible on ultrasound.
- Less than 4 centimeters in diameter.
Breast Fibroadenoma Cryoablation Consultation
Breastlink Laguna Hills now offers cryoablation as a treatment option for breast fibroadenomas. Dr. Lisa Curcio and Dr. Nimmi Kapoor use IceSense3, a FDA approved cryoablation procedure, to help women if they decide to remove a breast fibroadenoma.
To request a consultation with one of our board-certified breast surgeons please call 949.770.0797 or fill out the online contact form below. A member of our team will get back to you within 1 business day.