What is Cryosurgery?
Cryosurgery or Cryotherapy is a specialized technique for providing long-term pain relief for various podiatric conditions. This technique is superior to other methods of peripheral nerve destruction (e.g. alcohol injections, phenol applications, or surgical resection) because it is not followed by neuritis or neuralgia.
There are few options for successful relief from painful foot conditions. Surgical resection of the nerves often leads to recurrent nerve growths called neuromas. These neuromas are often more painful than the original problem. Narcotics do not treat nerve pain but rather only “mask” the pain.
The application of cold to tissues creates a conduction block. This is similar to the effect of local anesthetics, but the effect is long lasting. Long-term pain relief from nerve freezing occurs because the formation of an ice crystal disrupts the sensory component of the nerve structure.
Cryotherapy is performed in the office. This minimally invasive technique takes 15 minutes to perform from start to finish. The painful area is infiltrated with a local anesthetic, so that the cryoprobe can be introduced without discomfort. A tiny puncture is made through the skin. Next, a small blunt instrument called a trocar is placed through the puncture site to create a portal for the Cryoprobe to be introduced. The probe is inserted through the puncture site and Cryotherapy is set for a 3 minute freeze cycle, followed by a 30 second defrost, then another 3 minute freeze. The probe is then removed.
An antibiotic ointment is placed over the puncture site with a sterile dressing applied. Sutures are not necessary due to the small size of the puncture. The dressing may be removed within 24 hours and a shower is then permitted. The puncture site is to be covered with a small amount of antibiotic ointment and a band-aid. Postoperative discomfort is minimal. It is suggested that you decrease your normal level of activity over the first 48 hours. Your next scheduled visit will be within 3-7 days.
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