Research Article

Long term effects of cryosurgery on cutaneous sensation.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1985; 290 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.290.6463.188 (Published 19 January 1985) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1985;290:188
  1. T S Sonnex,
  2. R L Jones,
  3. A G Weddell,
  4. R P Dawber

    Abstract

    In a study of the time course and nature of the sensory loss after cryosurgery the forearms of nine normal subjects were treated with liquid nitrogen using freeze times currently employed in clinical practice in Britain. Ability to appreciate touch, pinprick, and cold in the treated areas was tested at regular intervals and biopsy samples taken to investigate the pathogenesis. Appreciation of all three modalities of sensation was initially reduced in all nine subjects for all freeze times, yet complete recovery occurred in the seven patients completing follow up. This recovery, however, took up to one and a half years for the longest freeze, with even a 10 second freeze taking up to 10 months. Patients may be reassured that sensory loss after cryosurgery for up to two periods of 30 seconds will almost certainly recover, though it may take up to 18 months to do so.