Laser Ablation Therapy

Laser ablation therapy is a less invasive alternative to traditional breast cancer operations like lumpectomies. Rather than surgically removing the tumor and a small amount of surrounding tissue, this procedure uses targeted lasers to precisely destroy small tumors.

How Laser Ablation Therapy Works

Laser ablation therapy is performed under direct ultrasound visualization, which allows surgeons to more accurately view the contours of the tumor or cancerous tissue. Under local anesthesia, two very small incisions are made — one in the center of the tumor and the other along its edge. A laser probe is inserted into the central incision, while a thermal probe is inserted into the other incision to measure progress.

The laser is positioned using the ultrasound visualization so that it will only affect the cancerous area. When its turned on, it uses thermal energy to destroy the cancerous cells. This procedure takes about 30 to 60 minutes. Afterward, the incisions are sealed up with small bandages rather than sutures.

Benefits of Laser Ablation Therapy

Traditional breast surgery operations, such as lumpectomies, can leave scars and unfavorably affect the look and feel of the breast. Because they cannot precisely define the contours of the tumor, they may also be less effective. As a result, 20 to 30 percent of women who receive a lumpectomy will require a second one, while a further 8 percent will need a mastectomy.

In contrast, laser ablation therapy produces little to no scarring, preserves the natural look and feel of the breast, and is more successful at completely eliminating the tumor. Because it uses small incisions, laser ablation therapy is also less painful and allows patients to recover quickly. In general, normal activities can be resumed after a day.

Other benefits include:

  • Performed in office rather than operating room
  • Local anesthesia rather than sedation or general anesthesia
  • Less chance of infection

Who Is Eligible for Laser Ablation Therapy?

Laser ablation therapy is currently only being used for patients with early stage breast cancer who have tumors 2 centimeters or less in diameter.

Next Steps

If you’re interested in using laser ablation therapy in your care, we’re here for you. Call us now at (212) 305-9676 or fill out our online appointment request form.