Cryoablation is useful in young patients with arthritis pain who want to avoid or postpone joint replacement surgery
Doctors at Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket have begun to employ Cryoablation, a minimally invasive procedure for patients suffering from a wide range of conditions. The word Cryoablation, an amalgam of two words – ‘cryo’ meaning cold and ‘ablation’ can be used for relief in a multitude of pain conditions such as arthritis of the large joints (such as the knee, hip, shoulder and sacroiliac joints), cancer pain and nerve pains such as postherpetic neuralgia (a common complication of shingles) among many others. Cryoablation can also be useful in young patients with arthritis pain who want to avoid or postpone joint replacement surgery.
Explaining the procedure, Dr Amod Manocha, Head of Pain Management, Max Hospital, Saket said, “The primary aim of cryoablation is the deactivation of nerves transmitting pain signals to the brain. This is achieved by freezing these nerves in a controlled manner to temperatures that can go as low as minus 80 degrees. The procedure is performed using a special probe called a cryoprobe, a hollow needle through which the super-cooled gas such as nitrous oxide or carbon dioxide is delivered from a high to the low-pressure chamber. The probe is guided to the correct location using ultrasound and X-ray guidance. Gas is delivered once the probe in the correct place. The extremely low temperatures achieved at the tip of the cryoprobe cause formation of an ice ball, which can be visualised with the help of ultrasound. This freezes the nearby nerves and thereby reducing pain. Once the procedure is done, the cryoprobe is removed and the procedure site is covered with a small bandage.”
Talking about the numerous advantages of cryoablation, Dr Manocha said, “This technology is a minimally invasive pain management alternative which does not require any cuts or incisions and works quickly and can provide lasting pain relief. With a high success rate and hardly any recovery time, this procedure can be used in the management of a wide range of pain conditions. The treatment involves a daycare procedure with no overnight hospital stay requirement. These are safe procedures without the increased risk of complications and there is no requirement for general anaesthesia. Moreover, less pain post-treatment can translate into improved functional ability and reduced painkiller requirements, as well as reduced disability rates. The treatment can also be easily repeated if required.”