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Advanced Podiatry Services, Dr. Howard Penn, Lackawanna, NY


What is it?

Cryoanalgesia means pain relief from cold. When pain has been identified to be caused by nerves, one technique of offering long-term relief is to "freeze" the nerve. Under local anesthesia, performed in the office, a probe is placed under the skin on top of the nerve. A nerve stimulator is used to "hone in on the nerve", and you will feel a tingling or burning as the probe gets closer to the nerve. When the probe is in the exact right spot, the tip of the probe goes to a minus 70 degrees centigrade, forming an ice ball which kills the nerve but leaves the nerve insulation intact. This allows the nerve to grow back potentially without pain. If the pain does come back, there is no limits to the number of times the nerve can be refrozen.

The area burns for about 30 seconds during the freezing process and then gets numb. We ask that you bring a driver with you. The actual procedure takes 7 minutes, but you 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. Before the nerve is actually frozen, special care is used to insure that the probe is not too close to any muscle nerves. Areas where the skin is thin may also be at risk for "frostbite" is the ice ball is too close to the skin surface. This can cause skin damage resulting in scars or changes in skin color.

What happens after the treatment?

Occasionally, some patients complain of burning after the treatment. This not unusual. When you get home, apply ice to the area for 20 minute intervals for 3 hours. You may also experience some discomfort for a few days following the procedure. You may take pain medications prescribed by the doctor and apply ice as discussed above. There may be bruising along the nerve frozen. This is not uncommon and will fade as the area heals. It is important that you take it easy for approximately 2 days before returning to work. The procedure is usually performed on a Friday, allowing for the weekend to recover. You may return to work or activity on Monday.

What conditions is the procedure indicated for?

Cryoneuroablation has been used successfully for pain management for the past 15 years. In podiatric medicine, this technology has proved to be a safe and effective treatment for treating foot neuromas, heel pain and recalcitrant nerve pain.

Who is not a candidate for this procedure?

Patients who have a history of bleeding disorders or have local or systemic infections are not candidates for this procedure.

What are the advantages of foot cryosurgery?

  • Minimal discomfort
  • Long term pain relief
  • Low incidence of complications
  • High procedure success rate
  • Treatment may be repeated
  • No stump neuroma formation
  • Cost effective and covered by most insurance companies
  • Minimally invasive
  • In-office procedure
  • Ambulatory the day of the procedure
  • Minimal to no down time from work or activity
  • Bypass prolonged use of pain medications that may otherwise create other systemic problems
  • May prolong the necessity for orthotics
  • May permit the patient to return to fashion shoes or sandal

Advanced Podiatry Services
Howard A. Penn, D.P.M.
1271 Ridge Road
Lackawanna, NY 14218
Tel: 716.824.9835
Fax: 716.827.7095
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