What is cryotherapy?
CRYOTHERAPY neuroma treatment
Cryotherapy (“cryo” meaning cold and “therapy” meaning cure) is a minimally-invasive alternative to invasive surgery. Cryotherapy involves using extremely cold temperatures to treat localized areas of pain.
What Does Cryotherapy Treat?
- Morton’s Neuroma
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Diabetic Neuropathy
- Heel pain
- Rebuilds muscle mass and strength in legs.
- Causes the brain to release endorphins which reduce pain in other parts of the body.
- Regrowth of the nerve paths to stop shooting pain and burning.
- Repolarizes nerve membranes that may have been disrupted by neurotoxins.
- Delivers pain relief during treatments.
- Supports a full restful night’s sleep.
- Eliminates burning, tingling, and numbness.
- Feeling returns to feet promoting better balance.
Benefits Of Cryotherapy
Six minute office procedure with a high success rate allowing you to walk out of the office, shower the next day and not miss any work!
How Does Cryotherapy Work?
By having the ice form around the actual nerve itself, the outer layers of the nerve sheath degenerates and, in doing so, decreases the nerve’s abilities to transmit the signal of pain. Over the course of the next couple of months, the nerve sheath regenerates again and in most cases regenerates without the inflammation and you are pain free.
Does Cryotherapy Work?
You bet it does! Just like applying an ice pack on the skin relieves minor aches and pains, cryotherapy has been shown to be very effective in relieving very painful foot conditions such as heel pain (plantar fasciitis), neuromas, and has been showing promising results in treating other conditions such as tarsal tunnel pain, tendonitis and may even be helpful in cases of arthritis and diabetic neuropathy.
Frequently Asked Questions
How painful is cryosurgery?
It isn’t painful at all. Plenty of local numbing medication much like novocaine is used, and patients generally don’t feel anything. This local anesthetic is usually isn’t injected into the actual site of your neuroma. Instead, anesthetic is injected into the top of the foot and the ankle, which soon makes the entire foot numb. Also note that the skin here isn’t very sensitive, so the injections are tolerated extremely well. Generally patients feel less discomfort than with dental injections. A podiatrist in Pittsburgh has performed cryosurgery hundreds of times and most patients complain of almost no pain.
How long do cryosurgery procedures take?
Cryosurgery takes under an ½ hour in most cases. A large portion of this time is the time it takes for the toes to go completely numb, and the actual procedure takes only minutes.
What do I do immediately after the procedure?
It’s a good idea to bring a driver with you, so you can sit in the back-seat and elevate your foot. For the next 24 hours, limit walking (short periods of about 10 minutes are OK). A Wexford podiatrist recommends that patients only walk for periods of less than 10 minutes immediately after the procedure.
When is it OK to return to more vigorous activities like running and sports?
In general we recommend that patients wait for as long as 2 weeks for a complete healing time from cryosurgery. Often less time is required (3 days). Ultimately, this depends on each individual patient and how they heal. Ask our podiatrist in Cranberry, Mars, and Seven-Fields.
How long does the average patient take to feel the maximum benefits?
Our patients know their body best, and we advise patients to “listen to their body.” Our clinical experience has shown that most patients feel the most benefits at about 3 months. Again, much of this is up to the individual patient and the level of discomfort (tenderness) they experience after the procedure.
Are there many cryosurgery complications? Risks of cryosurgery?
Cryosurgery is extremely safe and effective. In the vast majority of cryosurgery cases there are no complications whatsoever.
Is cryosurgery an experimental procedure?
No. For more than a quarter century cryotherapy has been used to treat many conditions. Practitioners using cryo to treat Morton’s neuroma typically see a greater than 80% success rate—even in patients who have had unsuccessful open surgery. Our podiatrist in Sewickley reports very high success rates and patient satisfaction.
How To Prepare For Cryosurgery?
In most cases there is no preparation is needed at all, but if there is something important then your doctor will surely tell you about it.
However, you should try to quit your daily medications before the treatment and quit smoking too as it can interfere with your recovery.
You should plan someone to drive you home since it’s not safe to drive after the treatment.
What Are Risks Of Cryosurgery?
Just like every surgery there are some risks of cryosurgery, so it’s better to know about them before you experience them.
Here are some common side effects of cryosurgery:
- Pain in the treated area which should subside after few weeks
- Discoloration of the skin
- Risk of infection
What Happens After Cryosurgery?
After the surgery is finished you can go home but make sure you bring someone to drive you home.
However, if you had an internal organ cryosurgery then then your doctor may recommend you to stay in the hospital For one or two days.
After that you can go home, but once you go you need to protect your treated area and keep it clean especially the incisions.
Changing bandages can also be s good option to prevent infection, so you should visit your doctor to change bandages once they worn out.
You may feel some amount of pain but it can be relieved with OTC pain relievers.
This pain should go away After three days, the same goes and you will fully recovery in two to three weeks but it varies from patient to patient so even if your recovery takes time do not feel down.
Sometimes you may need more than one sessions since one session isn’t enough.
Lastly, if you have some more health concerns related to cryosurgery then you should ask your surgeon about it.
Can cryosurgery help after traditional open surgery has failed?
Yes. Cryosurgery is an excellent option if previous surgery has failed. After a failed surgery, the remaining nerve stump may be encased in scar tissue, and freezing it is an excellent option. Cryosurgery can even work if a “stump neuroma” is present.
Is cryosurgery covered by insurance?
This depends entirely on what type of insurance plan you have. Some cover cryotherapy for Morton’s neuroma, but some don’t. It’s best to call our offices and we’ll check with your insurance company.
Can both feet be treated in the same visit?
Circumstances are different for each patient, but podiatrists almost always chooses to treat one neuroma at a time. Treating both feet during the same visit often causes an unnecessarily long recovery time.
I have both a Morton’s neuroma and a bursa problem. Can cryosurgery treat both?
These two conditions commonly occur together. Cryosurgery is an excellent treatment for both. Note that if the bursa is large and extremely inflamed, then a cortisone injection may also be necessary.
Does cryosurgery provide permanent relief?
The vast majority of patients have no recurrence of Morton’s neuroma, but recurrence is possible. A review of our case records shows that very few patients need a second treatment to resolve their symptoms.
Is there scientific evidence that cryosurgery is effective?
While not many large studies have been conducted, physicians who use cryotherapy generally get very good results. In our office in Robinson cryosurgery for Morton’s neuromas achieves an 70-80% success rate, and this is a conservative estimate. To put this question in perspective, there’s very little evidence that cortisone injections are effective for the long-term treatment of this condition.
Is cryosurgery safe?
Yes. It’s actually much safer than older, more invasive procedures.
What are some potential side-effects or complications of cryosurgery?
While cryosurgery is extremely safe, any procedure carries a risk. This risk is small, and from a safety and effectiveness standpoint, cryosurgery makes sense. It’s also important to note that choosing to do nothing carries risks: over time, the condition may worsen or develop complications on its own.
- Mild infection that usually goes away without treatment.
- Mild sensory damage to the foot, usually at the location of the neuroma. This is very, very rare.
- Scarring, mainly in patients with a genetic predisposition to scar formation.
I’ve heard cryosurgery can cause permanent numbness. Is this true?
It’s so rare it almost never happens. Occasionally patients experience a slight decrease in sensation, but this almost always goes away in a matter of weeks.
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