Minimally invasive cryoneurolysis alleviates chronic pain

   The minimally invasive interventional radiology treatment cryoneurolysis safely treats chronic pain caused by nerve damage, according to data presented at SIR 2013, held in April 2013 in New Orleans.

   “Cryoneurolysis could have big implications for the millions of people who suffer from neuralgia, which can be unbearable and is very difficult to treat,” said William Moore, M.D., medical director of radiology at Stony Brook University School of Medicine in Stony Brook, N.Y. The procedure uses a small probe that is cooled to minus 10 to minus 16 degrees Celsius, creating a freezer burn along the outer layer of the target nerve. This interrupts the pain signal to the brain and blunts or eliminates the pain while allowing the damaged nerves to grow over time, Moore said.

   In the study, 20 patients received cryoneurolysis treatment for a variety of neuralgia syndromes and were evaluated using a visual pain scale questionnaire immediately after treatment and at one week, one month, and three-month follow-ups. An average of 8 out of 10 on the pain scale prior to treatment, patients’ pain was an average 2.4 one week post-treatment. 

    Pain relief was sustained for about two months after the procedure, but increased to an average of 4 out of 10 on the scale after six months due to nerve regeneration, Moore said. He recommends repeat cryoneurolysis treatments as needed. But some patients will receive up to a year of pain relief from a single treatment, he said.