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Cryoablation For Breast Cancer

What Does the Equipment Look Like for Cryoablation for Breast Cancer?

Several unfamiliar pieces of equipment may be used during the cryoablation procedure. It can ease your nerves about the procedure if you know what the equipment looks like and what it is used for.  Although cryoablation is most often performed with the use of an ultrasound, a CT scanner, or MR imaging machine may also be used.


The ultrasound scanner will be made up of a computer console, video display screen, and an attached transducer. The transducer is a small handheld device that almost is similar to a microphone. Some exams can use different transducers that have different capabilities within a single exam. The transducer works by sending out high-frequency sound waves in the body and then it listens for returning echoes. It's similar to how sonar is used by submarines and boats. The healthcare provider working the machine applies a small amount of gel to the area and places the transducer there. The gel allows the sound waves to travel between the area and the transducer. The ultrasound imaging is visible on the display screen. It will take into account the body structure and the tissue the sound is moving through.


The CT scanner is a large donut-shaped machine that has a short tunnel through the center. You lie on the exam table that slides in and out. It rotates around you and the X-ray detectors are located on opposite sides from each other. The computer that processes the image is located in a separate control room. You can hear a technician by using a speaker and a microphone.


An MRI machine is a large cylinder-shaped tube with a circular magnet surrounding it. You lie on a table that will slide into the center. There are different types of MRIs that may be used during cryoablation for breast cancer. Some new machines have a larger diameter and this can be more comfortable for patients who have claustrophobia or are larger. Open MRI units are open on the sides and can also be used for these patients. There are other MRI units that can provide higher quality images for different types of exams. Your cryoablation breast doctor will recommend certain MRIs based on your tumors.


Your cryoablation breast doctor uses this imaging for guidance, along with the cryotherapy applicator connected to the source of liquid nitrogen.

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