What is cryotherapy and how does it work?
- Cryotherapy is a pain treatment that uses a method of localized freezing temperatures to deaden an irritated nerve.
- Cryotherapy is also used as a method of treating localized areas of some cancers (called cryosurgery), such as prostate cancer and to treat abnormal skin cells by dermatologists. In this article we only discuss its use in nerve conditions.
- In cryotherapy, a probe is inserted into the tissue next to the affected nerve.
- The temperature of the probe drops to then effectively freeze the nerve.
- The freezing inactivates the nerve and, as a result, painful nerve irritation is relieved. Cryotherapy is a relatively safe and effective means of treating localized nerve irritation.
What is cryotherapy used for?
Cryotherapy can be used to treat conditions that involve irritation of an isolated nerve. In general, such conditions include benign nerve growths (neuromas) and pinched nerves (nerve entrapments).
Specific examples include
- nerve irritation between the ribs (intercostal neuralgia),
- cluneal nerve entrapment,
- ilioinguinal neuroma,
- hypogastric neuromas,
- lateral femoral cutaneous nerve entrapment, and
- interdigital neuromas.
Many forms of nerve entrapment can often be treated with cryotherapy.
What are the side effects of cryotherapy?
While cryotherapy can reduce unwanted nerve irritation, it sometimes can leave the tissue affected with side effects, such as
- numbness or tingling,
- redness and irritation of the skin,
- pain (during the procedure and 24 hours after),
- infection (with pus or oozing),
- cold panniculitis, and
- change in vitals (increase in blood pressure, reduced heart rate, and respiratory rate).
These effects are generally temporary.
Top Cryotherapy Related Articles
Cutaneous Horns PictureThe cutaneous horn appears as a funnel-shaped growth that extends from a red base on the skin. See a picture of Cutaneous Horns and learn more about the health topic.
Keloid ScarA keloid is a scar that doesn't know when to stop. When the cells keep on reproducing, the result is an overgrown (hypertrophic) scar or a keloid. A keloid looks shiny and is often dome-shaped, ranging in color from slightly pink to red. It feels hard and thick and is always raised above the surrounding skin.
LEEP (Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure)Loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) is a procedure used to remove abnormal tissues of the cervix. LEEP is used often to treat mild to moderate dysplasia. The effectiveness of LEEP is comparable to:
- cold knife conization,
- laser ablation,
- or laser conization.
Molluscum ContagiosumMolluscum contagiosum is a skin disease that causes painless pink bumps on the skin. Learn about treatment, home remedies, and other symptoms associated with this viral infection.
Non-Itchy Red Spots: 20 Skin DisordersA variety of conditions can cause red spots, both itchy and non-itchy. Learn about common skin disorders, causes, and treatment.
Signs of Prostate Cancer: Symptoms, PSA Test, TreatmentsWhat is prostate cancer? Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. Learn the signs and symptoms of prostate cancer, along with causes and treatments. Know the stages, survival rates and how to lower your risk of prostate cancer.
Prostate Cancer Staging and Survival Rates
The prognosis for prostate cancer, as with any cancer, depends on how advanced the cancer has become, according to established stage designations. The patient's PSA score at diagnosis, as well as their Gleason score (the grading system used to determine the aggressiveness of prostate cancer) determines the prognosis and final stage designation. Prostate cancer has a high survival rate in general, but your chances depend on the stage of the cancer.
PSA Test (Prostate Specific Antigen)Prostate specific antigen (PSA) is a protein found in semen. PSA levels are used to detect prostate cancer and monitor the progression of the disease. Learn about test uses, results, and accuracy.
Skin RashThe word "rash" means an outbreak of red bumps on the body. The way people use this term, "a rash" can refer to many different skin conditions. The most common of these are scaly patches of skin and red, itchy bumps or patches all over the place.
Skin Cancer (Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer or Keratinocyte Cancer)Skin cancers occur when skin cells undergo malignant transformations and grow into tumors. The most common types of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, are highly curable when they are diagnosed and treated early. Sun exposure, tanning beds, depressed immune system, radiation exposure, and certain viral infections are risk factors for skin cancer. Skin cancers are treated with surgery or radiation. The prognosis of nonmelanoma skin cancers is generally very good.
Skin TagA skin tag is a small benign growth of skin that projects from the surrounding skin. Skin tags can vary in appearance (smooth, irregular, flesh colored, dark pigment, raised). Skin tags generally do not cause symptoms unless repeatedly irritated. Treatment for skin tag varies depending on the location on the body.
STDs in MenSymptoms of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in men include painful urination, bumps or sores on the penis, and penile discharge and itching. Learn about the most common STDs in men.