Cryoablation: The Alternative to Surgery for Fibroadenomas
It can all come down to a moment in the shower — you’re washing up and then, all of a sudden, you feel a lump. Yes, for some, the most regular action on the most average of days has been exactly the moment that sends hearts falling from the normal course of everyday life into an “Oh my, now what will I do?” realization. So it can be with fibroadenomas, the solid, noncancerous breast tumors that occur most often in adolescent girls and women, ages 12 to 35.
Usually painless, fibroadenomas can vary in size and might feel like a marble in your breast, moving under the skin when touched. Among the most common breast lumps in young women, fibroadenomas are a bit of a puzzle in that they can get bigger or even shrink on their own (due to hormonal changes). The first step is discovery, which can take place during a woman’s normal showering routine or through a brief self-examination. A more proactive, clinical way of diagnosing a fibroadenoma is via an imaging test like a mammogram, ultrasound, or MRI. Your doctor will, most likely, recommend one of these imaging tests to confirm that the lump is, indeed, a fibroadenoma.
So how do you deal with a fibroadenoma once discovered? If the fibroadenoma is small and painless, and remains the same size, you would not need any treatment. Often, fibroadenomas can be left alone and no treatment is necessary. They are, usually, just monitored with follow-up ultrasounds. If however, the fibroadenoma is large, painful, or growing, and your doctor advises treatment, options can include monitoring to detect changes in their size or feel, a biopsy, surgical removal, or cryoablation, an FDA-approved treatment as an alternative to surgery. Cryoablation is a long-established, effective procedure for destroying these types of breast tumors that usually takes between 5 and 15 minutes. After a local anesthetic is applied, a thin hollow needle (called a “cryoprobe”) is used to circulate cooled, thermally conductive fluids which destroy the offensive surrounding tissue (the frozen tissue is absorbed within months). Since no tissue is removed, the shape of your breast will not be affected.
Zwanger-Pesiri Radiology is the only outpatient facility on Long Island performing cryoablation, leading the way in breast imaging. For more information, click Cryoablation or call (631)225-7200 ext. 4642 to speak to our radiologist, Dr. Guy Bassis. For a ZPR office nearest you, click locations & directions.
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