After local anesthesia and using ultrasound (sonographic) imaging, a small probe (thin hollow needle) is guided into the fibroadenoma. Extremely cold temperatures are used to destroy (ablate) the fibroadenoma. Cryoablation is comfortable and painless, as the cold acts with the local anesthesia to numb the area.
Cryoablation usually takes about 5-15 minutes. No sutures are required; as the procedure is performed using only a small skin nick, just an adhesive steri-strip is needed. As with a needle biopsy, many women can return to work or their normal activity quickly.
Fibroadenomas are the most common type of breast tumor (lump) and about 50% of women seek treatment for them. Fibroadenomas are solid (not fluid-filled) masses, have clearly defined edges and are typically round or oval in shape. Fibroadenomas are benign, which means they are not cancerous, and do not turn into cancer. They may increase in size with time, particularly with hormonal changes. Treatment is typically sought because of pain, rapid growth, age, or general discomfort.
You may choose to observe your fibroadenoma over time, and feel your breast for changes. Your doctor may request follow-up visits every 6-12 months and ultrasound or other imaging to check for any changes in the lump. If the fibroadenoma enlarges or becomes uncomfortable, your doctor may then recommend a treatment option.
Fibroadenomas can be removed surgically. This procedure is performed in the operating room and includes surgically removing the fibroadenoma and suturing (stitching) the incision closed. Depending on the size of the fibroadenoma and the location in the breast, healing may result in an indentation or change in the shape and size of the breast. In addition, the size of the scar on the skin will vary depending on the size of the fibroadenoma.
Cryoablation is an FDA-approved treatment for destroying fibroadenomas, and is an alternative to open surgery. It is the use of extreme cold to completely destroy tissue. Cryoablation technology is an established, effective therapy that has been used for decades to destroy benign and cancerous tumors in prostate, liver and other organs. The technology and procedure has now been optimized for breast fibroadenomas.
The fibroadenoma cells will be destroyed (ablated) during the cryoablation procedure. Your body will then reabsorb those destroyed cells over time. You will have a palpable mass (area that can be felt) while your body naturally reabsorbs the treated cells. The time to reabsorb the tissue varies, depending on the initial size of the mass and other factors.
The American Society of Breast Surgeons states, “The FDA has approved the use of cryoablation as a safe and effective therapy for fibroadenomas”. Further, the professional society reports that the results of cryoablation “demonstrate the procedure to be safe, efficacious, and durable.”
The IceSense3™ cryoablation procedure is a safe and effective way to treat breast fibroadenomas. A simple, ultrasound-guided office-based procedure can address the anxiety of living with an uncomfortable tumor in your breast. Further, the size and shape of your breast will not be affected as the treated tissue is gradually reabsorbed.
Women who undergo cryoablation as treatment for their fibroadenomas report a high satisfaction from the procedure.