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Your Healthy Family: New minimally invasive breast tumor treatment available in CO

Posted at 8:20 AM, Feb 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-11 13:14:51-05

COLORADO SPRINGS – UCHealth Memorial Hospital’s Breast Surgery Program is now the first in Colorado to use a new technology that can freeze a lesion in the breast, killing the tumor cells and helping patients who are candidates for the procedure avoid surgery.

Dr. Laura Pomerenke, a breast surgeon with UCHealth Memorial explains, “A fibroadenoma is the most common tumor in young women.  About 10 percent of women will get a fibroadenoma at some time, but not all of them need to be treated.”

A fibroadenoma is also referred to as a fatty tumor that is benign.  However, if the mass is causing the patient concern or discomfort they can be removed.

“Before this, our only options were to watch them, or to take them to surgery.” says Dr. Pomerenke.

Now cryoablation – also known as tumor freezing – is another option for removing these fatty tumors, and the procedure can be done right in the surgeon’s office while the patient is awake and alert instead of in an operating room.  “Basically we can freeze these tumors in the office. It’s minimally invasive and there is very little pain afterwords.  When the tumor thaws, it’s basically reabsorbed by the body.”

Dr. Pomerenke explains, “Under local anesthesia we use ultrasound to watch the tumor.  We pass the probe through the mass, and then the computer determines how long the liquid nitrogen goes through the needle that creates an ice ball around the tumor.  The whole procedure is about 12 minutes. The patients have very little discomfort. We don’t like cutting up young healthy breasts for benign things, so this is a nice option.  The nice thing is there’s an itty bitty little nick in the skin versus having a bigger scar.”

In our next story, we’ll hear from the first patient to receive this treatment in Colorado.  If you have questions, you can follow up with the UCHealth breast surgery program.

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