Cryosurgery for Neuromas using the CryoStar Cryoanalgesic System
Background on Cryosurgery
Cryoanalgesia is a specialized technique for providing long-term relief for various foot ailments. People have recognized the value of cold for analgesia for thousands of years. Hippocrates, “Father of Western Medicine,” left us the first written records of the use of ice for pain relief. The application of ice serves two purposes: reduces swelling and inflammation, and causes a mild “numbing” effect for as long as it is applied. Application of ice is still the first line of treatment for minor injuries.
Let us apply this “ice therapy” directly to the area of most pain – under the skin where the damaged tissue and inflammation exist. Even better, apply this “ice therapy” directly on the nerves responsible for transmitting the sensation of pain. The direct numbing of the nerve will stop the sensation of pain – and that is how cryosurgery will help our patients get relief from their foot pain.
Indications for Cryosurgery
- Neuromas/ Morton’s neuroma (pain between 3rd and 4th metatarsals that also cause burning, numbness and tingling)
- Plantar fasciitis/Heel Spur Syndrome
- Nerve entrapment (Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome)
- Osteoarthritis (joint pain caused by cartilage degeneration)
- Soft tissue tumors
Advantages to Cryosurgery
- Ambulatory the day of the procedure
- Bypass prolonged use of pain medications that may otherwise create other systemic problems
- Cost effective and covered by most insurance companies
- High procedure success rate
- In-office procedure
- Long term pain relief
- Low incidence of complications
- Minimal discomfort
- Minimal to no down time from work or activity
- Minimally invasive
- No stump neuroma formation
- Permit the patient to return to fashion shoes or sandal
- Treatment may be repeated
The Cryomed Corporation from England has developed the CryoStar. For the over 15 years, its use for podiatric-related condition has been extensively tested for safe, effective, and proven pain relief. The FDA for use in podiatric ailments in July 2003 approved the CryoStar. Since bringing this “state-of-the-art technology” to the podiatric arena, only a select group of CryoStar Certified Podiatric Physicians is qualified and demonstrates the necessary expertise to treat these painful foot conditions. The foot and ankle surgeons at New York Foot Care Services are chosen to be of these select few.
Cryosurgery is an office-based procedure that is minimally invasive and takes 15 minutes to perform. The area experiencing pain will have a local anesthetic injected so that the cryoprobe can be introduced without discomfort. A tiny puncture is made through the skin, and then a 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 the CryoStar 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 small size of the puncture). The dressing may be removed in 24 hours and a shower is 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. A follow-up visit will then be scheduled.
While actual procedure takes 15 minutes, please can expect to be in the office for a total of one hour. There is the risk of bleeding, bruising, or infection any time you put a needle through the skin.
Each insurance company has varying degrees of coverage for this procedure. It is the patient’s ultimate responsibility to check with the medical insurance carrier for specific coverage exclusions or limitations. For insurance plans that we do not participate with, payment will be expected on the day services are rendered.