Jefferson University Hospitals

Breast Cryotherapy for Fibroadenoma

What is fibroadenoma?

Fibroadenoma is the most common benign (non-cancerous) tumor of the breast, which can sometimes cause symptoms such as lump and pain. It affects women of all ages; however symptomatic fibroadenomas are more commonly seen in younger women. 

What is breast cryotherapy?

Breast Cryotherapy is an FDA-approved treatment for destroying fibroadenomas, and is an alternative to open surgery. It is the use of extreme cold to completely destroy tissue. 

Who benefits from breast cryotherapy?

Women with symptomatic biopsy-proven fibroadenoma (one or many) measuring 4 cm or less in the greatest dimension benefit from this procedure.

How does it work?

  • Similar to a core needle biopsy is used to diagnose fibroadenoma 
  • Outpatient procedure performed in-office by a breast imaging radiologist 
  • Less than 30 min, with local anesthetic 
  • A probe is inserted into the breast under ultrasound guidance through a 3 mm skin incision 
  • Liquid nitrogen circulates through the probe causing a rapid temperature drop that freezes and destroys the breast tumor from the inside out

What are the benefits compared to conventional surgery?

  • The procedure is comfortable, as ice acts as an analgesic 
  • There is no general anesthesia and no post-procedure prescription pain medicine 
  • Recovery is immediate
  • Preserves breast volume and minimizes risk of bleeding or infection 
  • No surgery/ No tissue removal/ No scar 
  • Procedure can be safely repeated for multiple tumors with no change in breast appearance.

Safety and Efficacy

  • Breast Cryotherapy is safer than a core needle biopsy because no tissue is removed 
  • The procedure has been successfully and safely used for treatment of benign breast disease since 2001 - the device we use in our clinic was approved by the FDA in 2010.
  • Studies have shown upwards of 85% of fibroadenomas become non palpable by 12 months after the procedure