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Cryoablation treatment for fibroadenomas

Find answers to common questions.

Steve Martinez, MD, Surgery

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What is cryoablation treatment for fibroadenomas?

We use cryoablation as a minimally invasive way to take care of breast fibroadenomas without surgery. Fibroadenomas are benign (not cancerous) tumors and not life threatening.

During cryoablation, a thin metal probe is passed through the center of the fibroadenoma with ultrasound (a type of imaging) guidance. The tip of the probe is cooled to a very low temperature. This freezes and kills the tumor without harming the surrounding tissues and without a lot of scarring.

How is cryoablation done in the office?

First, a breast surgeon makes sure you have a fibroadenoma with an exam, breast ultrasound and core needle biopsy (when tissue is taken from the body and tested). If you have one, then a cryoablation is scheduled.

You are awake during cryoablation and given a local anesthetic (a shot to numb the area). Ultrasound helps guide a small metal probe into the fibroadenoma. The tip of the probe is then cooled to extremely low temperatures.

This helps turn the tumor into a small ball of ice and then kills it. Cryoablation takes about 15 minutes. Afterward, the metal probe is removed and the patient can go back to daily activities right away. 

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What does cryoablation feel like?

Most people say they feel some discomfort during or after cryoablation. If this happens, you can take Tylenol® (acetaminophen).

What are the advantages of cryoablation?

It’s a FDA-approved (U.S. Food and Drug Administration), safe and effective alternative to surgery. Advantages include:

  • A shorter incision or cut (two millimeters)
  • Local anesthesia or just numbing the area and not having to be asleep during the surgery
  • A shorter, minor surgery and office visit (about one hour total)
  • Less time missed at work (usually less than a day)
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How does cryoablation help breast fibroadenomas?

Cryoablation is a minimally invasive way to take care of breast fibroadenomas. Fibroadenomas are benign (not cancerous) tumors and not life threatening. They can cause physical deformity (a shape that isn't normal), discomfort or emotional distress.

It used to be that fibroadenomas could only be taken care of with traditional surgery. But now patients have this minimally invasive surgery choice available to them.   

Does health insurance cover cryoablation of fibroadenomas?

Many health insurance companies cover cryoablation. We'll work with your insurance company to get approval before you have cryoablation.

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The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice or a substitute for professional health care. You should consult an appropriate health care professional for your specific needs.