Questions and Answers

What exactly is echotherapy? What occurs during treatment and will my health insurance cover it? Here you will find all the answers about a gentle alternative to surgery.

What is echotherapy?

Echotherapy is a treatment using therapeutic ultrasound (as opposed to diagnostic ultrasound). Imagine rays of sunshine shining through a magnifying glass. The rays are concentrated and hit the target with greater intensity. Echotherapy uses exactly the same principle:

The tissue of the fibroadenoma rapidly heats up to about 85 °C. In this way, a type of «melting process» starts during the echotherapy session. The echotherapy continues to have an effect after the treatment and the fibroadenoma continues to become smaller. This is because the body gradually breaks down the «melted» tissues.  

What results does echotherapy have on fibroadenomas?

Within 3 months, the size of the fibroadenoma will decrease by half on average. [1] It will continue to reduce in size thereafter. As the fibroadenoma decreases in size, the symptoms usually disappear. (See also Testimonials)

[1] Cavallo Marincola B, Pediconi F, Anzidei M et al.: High-intensity focused ultrasound in breast pathology: non-invasive treatment of benign and malignant lesions. Expert Rev Med Devices 2014; 24:1-9.

When is it useful to treat a fibroadenoma with echotherapy?

Treatment of a fibroadenoma with echotherapy is naturally always a possible option when a surgical procedure is appropriate, such as when the fibroadenoma is growing very fast, when you have discomfort or when you feel psychologically burdened by the fibroadenoma. (See also Treat or wait – what is right for me?)   

What happens during treatment with echotherapy?

Treatment with echotherapy occurs on an outpatient basis. Usually, you attend your appointment at the clinic and can go home directly after treatment. Only a single session is required. Depending on the size of the fibroadenoma, this will last between 20 minutes and 1.5 hours.  

Is the treatment painful?

You will be given a local anaesthetic so that you are relatively pain-free. Sometimes you will feel a more or less noticeable pricking or stabbing sensation. If unpleasant sensations appear, simply tell your treating physician. They will then adjust the intensity of the treatment accordingly.    

What should I look out for at home after the treatment?

Actually, you can immediately carry on with your everyday life as usual. Since echotherapy is performed without cuts, there are no wounds or other impairments.   

Is echotherapy safe?

Therapeutic ultrasound has already been used successfully for treating tumours for several years. In this process, injured tissues are broken down without affecting the healthy tissue (see question: What is echotherapy?) Echotherapy uses this technique. Fibroadenomas in the breast and benign lumps in the thyroid are treated using echotherapy. There are scientific studies regarding the use of echotherapy, especially when treating fibroadenomas [1]. An ultrasound is always used during treatment for monitoring purposes, so that the treatment can be precisely controlled.

[1] Cavallo Marincola B, Pediconi F, Anzidei M et al.: High-intensity focused ultrasound in breast pathology: non-invasive treatment of benign and malignant lesions. Expert Rev Med Devices 2014; 24:1-9.

What advantages does echotherapy have compared to surgery?

Unlike surgery, echotherapy is performed with no cuts and therefore leaves no scars. This is a major advantage, since surgery leaves scars not only on the surface of the skin but also inside the breast tissue. This makes future investigations more difficult and can cause problems during breastfeeding. Plus, echotherapy does not require a general anaesthetic. Unlike surgery, local anaesthetic is sufficient.  

Is the treatment paid for by my health insurance?

To date, with the exception of some health insurance funds in Germany, echotherapy is not supported by the compulsory health insurance schemes.
For more information, please feel free to contact one of the centers of echotherapy. (See «Echotherapy Centers»)



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