Cryo-surgery that removes breast tumours in minutes


London: Breakthrough ice technology developed by a British company means that many thousands of women with non-cancerous breast tumours can now be successfully treated in their doctors surgery rather than having to endure a hospital operation.

The treatment, developed by technology and product development company, Cambridge Design Partnership (CDP) and its client Sanarus Medical Inc based in California involves inserting a thin probe into the breast tumour which is then frozen at temperatures of -20 to -40 degrees centigrade.

The frozen tumour dies and over time is reabsorbed by the body.

Ultra sound is used to ‘image’ the growth of the ice ball during the freezing process making sure that only the affected tissues are frozen.

The treatment is quick, painless and takes less than 30 minutes to treat a large tumour of perhaps 4cm, while most take less than 15 minutes.

Prior to the development, GPs were reluctant to become involved in cryo-surgery because the equipment needed was bulky, cumbersome, difficult to use and intimidating for the patient. Also the main gas involved, argon, is difficult to obtain and is contained in large torpedo like tubes which weigh around 75 kilos each and need securing to a wall.

The main alternative for GPs was to recommend surgery with all its associated emotional trauma. Plus, the surgery would leave scarring and the ‘void’ left by removing the tumour could disfigure the shape of the breast. Additionally, there are always risks attached to a general anaesthetic as well as the possibility of infection, and patients can also expect a 2-3 day recovery period.

The technique developed by CDP and Sanarus, replaces argon with liquid nitrogen which is stored in 1 litre flasks. This breakthrough opened up the possibility to create a small, portable unit, called Visica 2, which is much easier to use, is not intimidating and more ‘user friendly’ for both the GP and the patient.

The procedure requires a tiny 3mm incision in the breast which is then covered by a normal plaster and no stitches are necessary.

Dr Keith Turner from Cambridge Design Partnership who led the UK team
commented: “This breakthrough means that a woman diagnosed with a non-cancerous breast tumour can pop into her doctor’s surgery, receive treatment and then get on with her day – in less time than it takes to do the weekly shop.”

The most common cause of benign breast lumps is the over development of fibrous tissue called fibro adenoma which, if it continues to grow, can become uncomfortable. Many women opt for surgical removal because they find the tumours emotionally and physically unacceptable.

Rather than an operating theatre, surgeons, anaesthetist, recovery nurses, physical scarring and emotional trauma, the new procedure is reduced to a doctor’s surgery, excellent cosmetic results and a dramatically reduced treatment time.

Freeze those wrinkles – new creams to keep skin cool

London: A host of new products that effectively freeze wrinkles using the latest scientific advances to revitalise the skin. These are some of the latest wrinkle-freezers available on the UK market:

Freeze 24-7 products (available at Space NK, 020 8740 2085) is a US product that has an effect comparable with Botox. The range includes a moisturiser, an eye serum and a range of lip glosses, contain gamma amino butyric acid, a naturally occurring muscle relaxant that feels cold on application and gives an ‘instant freezing effect’ by relaxing the muscles that can cause lines and wrinkles.

Another new product that uses the chill factor is the Diamond Ice-Lift (£90, Harrods, 020 7730 1234) face mask, from Spanish skincare brand Natura Biss. This product forms a mask that cools the skin as water evaporates, a bit like a fridge and the gel then solidifies.

Ice-Source (£125, ) from France that was developed with the European Space Agency. It is contained in a self-cooling pot — pushing a button on the base of the pot causes the product to be chilled 75 times quicker than in a fridge, dropping its temperature from 22C to 2C in two minutes. The cooling effect shrinks the size of molecules in the cream making them more effective at penetrating the skin.

Chilled for Skin (£80, LK Distribution, 01737 700020), is from Japan and is a pure organic marine collagen treatment that you apply twice a day before your moisturiser. It is delivered to your home in a coolbagand needs to be stored in the fridge to ensure that it remains effective.

Kenzo Vital-Ice Cream (£37, Urban Retreat at Harrods, 020 7893 8333) has to be kept in the fridge to optimise its toning and regenerating properties.