Cryosurgery is a technique used for the treatment of verrucae using liquid nitrogen to freeze the lesions to –196 degrees Celsius.
This is currently the recommended best treatment for verrucae and the success rate is high but not guaranteed. It does however, carry some risks. It is painful (sometimes for 3 to seven days afterwards), it may blister and it is fairly costly. A few treatments are usually needed.
The Podiatrist will assess the lesion to decide on the best treatment option. The area is cleansed with a pre-operative alcohol disinfectant solution and debrided (reduced) with a scalpel blade if necessary. The verruca site is sprayed with liquid nitrogen maintaining a freeze for approximately 30 seconds and then allowed to thaw completely before repeating the cycle, usually three times. A dressing is applied which can normally be removed the following day. Padding may be applied for pressure relief.
Please be aware that there are certain medical conditions where Cryosurgery is not recommended. These are as follows: Diabetes Mellitus, Peripheral Vascular Disease (impairment of the circulation).
Not suitable for small children.
Written consent is required for this treatment.
Needling is the latest treatment for treating stubborn verrucae.
A research paper (Longhurst and Bristow, 2013) has shown a 69% resolution rate in 46 adults. This is a significant result when you consider that topical treatments have little effect at all.
Needling is performed under local anaesthetic with three or four injections around the ankle to ensure the foot is completely numb before proceeding.
Having established that the area to be treated has been completely anaesthetised a hypodermic needle is used to repeatedly puncture the verruca. This pushes verruca tissue from the epidermis through into the dermis and underlying adipose tissue layer. Once this painless process has been completed a simple dry dressing is applied. This must be kept dry for at least twenty four hours.
The anaesthetic will start to wear off in two to three hours, but do not be concerned if it takes a little longer as the effects vary from person to person. After forty eight hours showering is permitted and life can continue as normal. There may be some slight discomfort for the first couple of days and pain relief may be taken to ease this as long as it is not aspirin based. Patients have reported very little pain after treatment.
It can take 4 – 8 weeks for the immune system to destroy the verrucae. A second treatment may be necessary.