Professor Fukuma reports having treated over 450 breast tumor patients with cryoablation since 2006. He explains the step-by-step process of how breast cryotherapy works by inserting a cryoprobe into the breast tumor and using temperatures as low as -170C° to destroy the targeted tissue. The liquid nitrogen enters the needle-like cryoprobe in a closed-loop system (no liquid nitrogen enters the body directly) and an ice ball starts to form around the breast tumor. The ability to view the ice ball as it grows around the tumor under ultrasound guidance helps to control the area of tissue being ablated. The breast tumor is treated with a freeze-thaw-freeze cycle to ensure the adequate cell death and that the ice ball grows to the desired length.
The procedure generally takes under an hour from start-to-finish. The breast cryoablation procedure is performed under local anesthesia so that the patient is awake for the duration of the treatment. The ablated breast tumor is not removed as is the case in lumpectomy. The destroyed tissue is eventually absorbed by the body’s natural processes. This leaves the breast intact with only a small nick where the the cryoprobe was inserted into the tumor.
Professor Fukuma describes the benefits of breast tumor cryoablation including minimal pain, no change to the volume or the shape of the breast, and that patients can quickly resume their normal activities and return to work the day following the procedure. In the over 450 breast tumor patients that Professor Fukuma has treated, he reports that he has seen a recurrence of tumor rate of less than 1%. Thanks to the minimally invasive approach, the ability to maintain the shape of the breast, and the outstanding results, Professor Fukuma reports there are many women seeking out breast tumor cryoablation at his facility.