FAQs about Cryoablation

How Do I Know If My Cancer Can Be Treated With Cryoablation?

By looking at your mammogram, ultrasound and MRI images before and after diagnosis of your cancer, we can determine if Cryotherapy would be a safe option for you.

Is Cryotherapy Or Cryoablation As Effective As A Lumpectomy, Radiation Or A Mastectomy?

To determine if Cryoablation is as effective at destroying the breast cancer, we look at how patients treated with cryotherapy suffer a reoccurrence of the original cancer. Two-year, five-year and now ten-year follow-up data indicate cryoablation kills the index cancer 98% of the time.

Are Some Breast Cancers Too Big To Treat With Cryoablation?

So far, the majority of our follow-up data looks at breast cancer 2cm and smaller. We are treating some bigger cancers as long as they are far enough from the skin, and patients do not have evidence of lymph node involvement; we have less follow up data on bigger cancers.

Do I Have To Have General Anesthesia If I Treat My Cancer With Cryoablation?

No, we perform the procedure with local anesthesia.

How Long Does It Take To Perform Cryoablation?

The procedure typically takes under one hour and you will require no sutures. The procedure is similar to an ultrasound-guided corneal biopsy of the breast.

Is The Procedure Painful?

We use local anesthetic, so there is no pain during the procedure. Some patients complain of a feeling of pressure as the balloon expands to create the ice ball. The coldness of the ice ball, however, also numbs the area. Some patients take two extra-strength Tylenol the evening after the procedure as the anesthesia wears off.

Is There Any Scarring Or Bruising After The Procedure?

There is no surgical scar or sutures. Immediately after the procedure, the breast will be swollen and sometimes quite red from the warm saline we infuse into the breast to protect the skin from frostbite. Some patients have bruising inferior aspect of the breast as the saline is gradually absorbed.

Am I At Risk For Infection Or Blood Clot Formation After The Procedure?

Because the ice ball destroys the small cancer arteries and veins, bleeding is very rare. We have not had any instances of infection to date.

Will I Feel A Lump After The Procedure?

Yes, there will be a cold hard lump immediately after the procedure. This lump gradually resolves, and by two years, patients typically do not feel any lump remaining.