Florida Today covers Brenda Reynolds fortunate treatment for breast cancer. Brenda Reynolds had a mammogram that revealed a 1½ cm malignant tumor. The tumor was small, so she was able to have a cryoablation procedure, which Dr. Emran Imami, used to eliminate the tumor with ease. The size of her tumor made it perfect for cryoablation. Cryoablation is a procedure which freezes the tumor mass with liquid nitrogen, which stops tumor growth.
“For decades, cryoablation has been used to treat benign and malignant tumors in the liver, lung and prostate, but not the breast,” Imami said.
The procedure is minimally invasive but cannot be used for everyone. The treatment works well for women over 65 years and the tumor being at an early stage. Imami performed the procedure by placing a probe in the center of Reynolds’ tumor and freezing it with liquid nitrogen.
“It would have been a radical mastectomy back then, but we’ve gone from that to lumpectomy to now cryoablation,” Imami said. “Medicine has moved significantly toward less invasive procedures such as cryoablation.”
A hollow-tipped probe is passed through a small incision into the breast. Using ultrasound imagery, Imami guided the probe into the center of Reynolds’ tumor and then directed low-pressure liquid nitrogen to form an ice ball around it. Tumor cells are destroyed through several freeze-thaw cycles, while the surrounding healthy tissue remains intact. The dead tumor cells are expelled by the body over a period that lasts between 3 to 18 months.
Cryoablation can be performed in 10 to 20 minutes and no breast tissue is removed, so the shape of the breast is maintained with little scarring. “Most patients report minimal discomfort and are able to resume normal activity immediately,” Imami said.
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