Modern techniques for pain management for joint problems are increasingly low risk and minimally invasive. They can be very effective to tide patients over until surgery, to help them recovery from surgery, or even help avoid surgery in some cases. One technique we use for this purpose is nerve cryotherapy, otherwise known as cryoneurolysis, cryoablation, nerve cold therapy, iovera, and other names. This is an extremely low risk procedure, no more painful than numbing up the skin, that can temporarily disable some sensory nerves for weeks to months and provide immense pain relief. Best of all, it is an extremely safe technique that in over 60 years of use around the time of surgery has never demonstrated long term complications, making it something worth trying. The novelty of it is we can now target very small nerves near the surface of the skin by using high resolution ultrasound and our ever expanding understanding of subtle human anatomy. These tiny nerves can play a major role in contributing towards joint pain. With almost no downside, this procedure is revolutionizing pain management especially around the time of surgery.
Nerve Cryotherapy is a protocol using localized freezing temperatures to temporarily disable an irritated nerve. Generally, this lasts for approximately 3 months at which point the nerve heals itself.
How does it work?
To freeze the nerve, ultrasound is utilized to guide a very thin needle to the nerve. The needle then injects a freezing agent at a very specific temperature in the area of the nerve. This specific temperature causes the nerve’s inner core to stop working temporarily. However, the nerve’s protective outer coating remains intact. The protective coating repairs the nerve’s inner core over several weeks to months depending on the length of the nerve.
What conditions can be treated with nerve cryotherapy?
The most common use for this therapy is to treat the nerves around the knee. This can be done for arthritis and for improved pain control around the time of surgery. Other uses include treatment of rib pain as can occur with trauma or thoracic surgery as well as pain from breast surgery.
iovera – Freeze Away Knee Pain
We perform a type of cryotherapy called iovera, which is known to be an effective management for knee pain. This treatment is no more painful than numbing of the skin for an IV or a TB test. Beyond pain management before a knee surgery, the benefits extend to helping patients recover more quickly after the surgery is complete.
Who is a good candidate for iovera cold therapy for knee pain?
- iovera is good for patients who:
- Need help with knee pain while they wait for upcoming surgery
- Need help with postoperative knee pain
- Want to start knee rehab but it is just too painful
- Want to cut down on the medications they use for knee pain
- Cold therapy can provide months of knee pain relief
How does iovera work?
iovera works by using the body’s natural response to cold to block targeted nerves from sending pain signals. It does this by forming a cold zone directly under the skin that is cold enough to stop the nerve from signaling without damaging the surrounding tissue.
To schedule a consultation for cold therapy knee pain treatment, call us today at 425-440-3351. We look forward to providing you with narcotic-free pain relief in Seattle.