What is cryoablation?

Expert Answers

DrAttai (Physician - Surgery - Breast (Verified) ) - 10 / 04 / 2011

Thanks for the question, Debbie! Cryoablation is a fascinating technology when applied to breast lesions, and one that I've been involved with for almost 10 years. Cryoablation refers to a technique where the tumor is frozen "in-situ" (within the breast); the body then reabsorbs the tumor and surgery is not required. It is a standard (and FDA-cleared) treatment in my practice for benign breast tumors (fibroadenomas) and is performed in the office under local anesthesia using just a very small skin nick instead of a surgery which will leave a larger scar and has the potential for some change in the shape or size of the breast.

For breast cancers, there are several small studies suggesting that cryoablation treatment is effective. The American College of Surgeons Oncology Group has a national clinical trial evaluating cryoablation for the treatment of breast cancer - once this study is complete, we should have more information regarding how effective cryoablation will be for breast cancers, but it does appear to be a promising technology and may allow some women in the future to be treated for their breast cancer by undergoing a minimally-invasive, office based procedure. We're hoping for results from the trial within about a year.

For general information about cryoablation for breast lesions:

For information regarding the ACOSOG Z1072 clinical trial:

For a video of the procedure and more information:
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