Breast surgeon Dr. Steve Martinez at The Everett Clinic is pleased to announce the availability of cryoablation for the minimally invasive treatment of breast fibroadenomas.
Although a fibroadenoma is not life-threatening, treatment may be desired because this benign tumor can cause physical deformity, discomfort or emotional distress. Traditionally, surgery has been the only option. But now, a minimally invasive option is available that can be performed in the office under local anesthesia. Cryoablation for treating fibroadenomas is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Since 2010, more than 2,000 fibroadenomas have been successfully and safely treated with this method.
What is cryoablation?
Cryoablation is the use of extreme cold to destroy a breast tumor without surgery. A thin metal probe is passed through the center of the tumor with the assistance of ultrasound guidance. The tip of the metal probe is cooled to extremely low temperatures (-256°F). This freezes and kills the breast tumor without harming the surrounding tissues and without any significant scarring.
How is cryoablation done in the office?
First, a breast surgeon confirms the presence of a fibroadenoma via an examination, breast ultrasound and core needle biopsy. Then, if needed, the cryoablation is scheduled.
Cryoablation does not require general anesthesia. After injection of a local anesthetic, ultrasound monitoring is used to help guide a two millimeter metal probe into the center of the fibroadenoma. The tip of the probe is then cooled to extremely low temperatures, which turns the tumor into a small ball of ice, and kills it. This takes about 15 minutes. Afterward, the metal probe is removed and the patient may immediately resume normal activities.
Is cryoablation uncomfortable?
Most people report minimal discomfort during or after cryoablation and take only acetaminophen (Tylenol) after cryoablation.
What are the advantages of cryoablation?
It’s an FDA approved, safe and effective alternative to surgery. Advantages include: a shorter incision (two millimeters), local anesthesia, a shorter procedure and office visit (about one hour total) and less time missed at work (usually less than a day).
Does health insurance cover cryoablation of fibroadenomas?
Many health insurance companies do. We will work with your insurance company to determine coverage and approval prior to the procedure.