The Everett Clinic now offers cryoablation for the minimally invasive treatment of breast fibroadenomas (solid, noncancerous breast tumors that are usually painless and vary in size). 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. IceCure 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.
Get the facts. Cryoablation:
Is done in the office. 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.
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. Then, the metal probe is removed.
Is minimally invasive. The patient may immediately resume normal activities after the procedure.
Most people report minimal discomfort during or after cryoablation and take only acetaminophen (Tylenol) after cryoablation.
Is 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). Cryoablation for 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.
Is covered by many health insurance companies for benign breast tumors. The Clinic will work with a patient’s insurance company to determine coverage and approval prior to the procedure.
Surgical oncologist Dr. Steve Martinez is a breast and endocrine surgeon on our cancer care team trained in advanced and minimally-invasive techniques in breast surgery, including cryoablation for breast fibroadenomas.