If traditional approaches haven’t helped with your chronic pain, Mount Sinai offers an advanced approach called cryoablation. With this treatment, we freeze the nerve that is transmitting pain to your brain. Generally, this approach provides relief for six months to a year. We use cryoablation for a variety of types of pain, most often in the nerves outside your brain and spine (called peripheral nerves).
How It Works
Cryoablation is an outpatient procedure performed in the operating room while you are under sedation. We start with sensory and motor nerve testing, to identify the target nerve. Then we insert a needle into the area near that nerve, guided by interventional radiology imaging. The needle allows us to deliver liquid nitrogen or argon gas to lower the temperature of the nerve to around -70 degrees Fahrenheit. This damages the protective layer (called myelin) that surrounds the nerve and keeps it from communicating pain to your brain. We do not touch the nerve itself. You may feel some discomfort as the nerve freezes. The entire procedure typically takes between one and three hours.
Cryoablation isn’t a permanent solution as the nerve will eventually rebuild the myelin. However, it can give you relief for up to a year. You may experience muscle spasms after the procedure, though these generally last no longer than a week or two. Most people can return to their regular activities within one to three days after the procedure. We can perform the procedure repeatedly, if necessary.
Why Mount Sinai
At Mount Sinai, we have great skill and experience in performing this advanced pain relief approach. Our teams include the referring doctor, and our facilities offer the latest equipment necessary to perform the procedure. At Mount Sinai, we have been working with cryoablation for decades.