Cryoablation treatment of benign breast lesions with 12-month follow-up

Cary S. Kaufman, Barbara Bachman, Peter J. Littrup, Laurie A. Freeman-Gibb, Michael White, Katherine Carolin, Darius Francescatti, Lewis H. Stocks, J. Stanley Smith, C. Alan Henry, Lisa Bailey, Jay K. Harness, Rache Simmons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Eighty percent of all breast biopsies reveal benign findings. The most common benign tumor is a fibroadenoma. Despite their benign nature, many women eventually choose to have their bothersome lumps surgically removed. We report the use of cryoablation to treat these benign breast lesions with minimum 12-month follow-up. After receiving Institutional Review Board approval, a prospective nonrandomized trial was initiated in June 2000. Ultrasound-guided cryoablation of core biopsyproven benign fibroadenomas, other benign breast nodules, or nodular fibrocystic change was performed on 78 lesions in 63 patients. Eighty-five percent of lesions treated were benign fibroadenomas. The cryoablation procedure consisted of a double freezethaw cycle that lasted between 6 and 30 minutes and was performed most often in an office setting. Each patient was serially evaluated for treatment efficacy, complications, and patient satisfaction. Sixty-four of 78 lesions (mean size 2.0 cm [range 0.8 to 4.2]) were followed-up for at least 12 months after cryoablation per protocol, which included 53 fibroadenomas. At 1 year, ultrasound tumor volume resorption was 88.3% overall (87.3% for fibroadenomas), and 73% of the entire group became nonpalpable to both clinician and patient (75% for fibroadenomas). Two of the fibroadenoma patients had their palpable residual nodule excised, both revealing necrotic debris and no viable tumor in the treated volume. Serial mammograms showed resorption of the lesion leaving minimal residual density without calcifications. Cosmesis was excellent with only a small scar remaining at the probe insertion site. There was no report of visual or palpable volumetric deficit. Patient satisfaction was good to excellent in 92% of cases. Cryoablation was successful in treating core biopsyproven benign breast lesions in 63 patients. At 12 months, we found gradual resorption of treated tissue with no cosmetic deficit. Ultrasound-guided cryoablation is an effective and safe treatment for benign breast lesions, as seen at 12-month follow-up, and offers an office-based, minimally invasive alternative to surgical excision.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)340-348
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgery
Issue number4 SPEC. ISS.
StatePublished - Oct 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery


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