July 7, 2021
The word cryoablation is formed of two words – “cryo “meaning cold and “ablation” meaning removal or destruction. In simple words cryoablation in pain management is freezing of the nerves to reduce pain. This technology has undergone significant advancement over the years and can be used for relief in a magnitude of pain conditions including
- Arthritis of the large joints such as the knee, hip and shoulder. This procedure is especially helpful in young patients with arthritis pain who want to avoid or postpone joint replacement surgery
- Arthritis of joints in the spine, sacroiliac joints
- Cancer pain
- Nerve pains such as postherpetic neuralgia, phantom limb pain, neuroma, thigh pain due to lateral femoral cutaneous nerves (meralgia paresthetica), pain after nerve injuries
- Post surgery pain such as Post hernia repair and Post thoracotomy (open chest surgery) pain
- Pain after rib fractures
The primary aim in cryoablation treatment is deactivation of the nerves transmitting the pain signals. This is achieved by freezing the nerves in a controlled fashion to temperatures as low as minus 80 degrees. The procedure is performed using a special probe called cryoprobe, which is guided to the correct location using ultrasound, x-rays and nerve stimulators. Cryoprobe is a hollow needle through which the super-cooled gas such as nitrous oxide or carbon dioxide is delivered once the probe is in the correct place. The extremely low temperatures achieved at the tip of the cryoprobe results in formation of an ice ball which can be visualised on an ultrasound scan. This freezes the nearby nerves thereby reducing pain. Once the procedure is finished, the cryoprobe is removed and the procedure site covered with a small bandage.
This technology is minimally invasive pain relieving alternative that does not require any cuts or incisions. It is a safe, day care procedure with the potential of providing quick and lasting pain relief. Less pain can translate into improved functional ability, reduced painkiller requirements and reduced disability. Besides, it can be easily repeated without any added side effects.
For more details about cryoablation and how it can help you, contact Dr Amod Manocha, Head – Pain Management Services, Max hospital, Saket, Delhi.