The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has issued full guidance to the NHS in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland on interstitial laser therapy for fibroademomas of the breast.

As part of the NICE's work programme, the current guidance was considered for review in June 2009 but did not meet the review criteria as set out in the IP process guide. The guidance below therefore remains current.


A fibroadenoma is a benign (non-cancerous) solid lump of tissue, which is thought to result from increased sensitivity to the hormone oestrogen. It normally has a rubbery texture, is smooth to the touch and moves easily under the skin. Fibroadenomas are very common and it is not unusual to have more than one. They are mostly found in young women but can occur in women of any age.

Laser therapy aims to destroy the tissue that has formed the fibroadenoma by the use of high-energy light. In this technique laser light is delivered to the lesion(s) via fibres positioned through needles inserted percutaneously into the breast under local anaesthetic, and guided to the fibroadenoma by imaging equipment, usually ultrasound. The presterilised bare fibre is passed a short distance beyond the tip of the needle, and laser energy is delivered through this fibre. The energy is delivered in continuous wave mode for a few minutes. For larger lesions multiple needles are inserted 1 cm apart, with a laser fibre through each.

The potential benefits of interstitial laser therapy are possibly lower rates of infection than open surgery, and a more acceptable aesthetic result.

Coding recommendations

B40.1 Interstitial laser destruction of lesion of breast

Note: The OPCS-4.5 code Y53.2 Approach to organ under ultrasonic control can be assigned in addition if ultrasonic guidance is utilised.

In addition the ICD-10 code D24.X Benign neoplasm of breast would be recorded.