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J Natl Med Assoc. 2002 Aug;94(8):716-20.

The role of cryoanalgesia for chronic thoracic pain: results of a long-term follow up.

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Department of Anesthesiology, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor 48109, USA.


Cryoanalgesia (the use of cold to provide anesthesia or analgesia) is the oldest anesthetic and analgesic still in current clinical use. Its intraoperative use in providing postoperative analgesia for acute thoracic pain problems via an open thoracotomy is well described. The long-term efficacy of cryoanalgesia for the management of chronic thoracic pain due to intercostal neuralgia is less clear. We retrospectively examined the medical records of patients who received percutaneous cryoanalgesia following successful intercostal nerve blockade for chronic chest pain. Sixty percent of the patients (N = 43) reported significant pain relief immediately following their procedure. Three months following cryoanalgesia, 50% continued to report significant pain relief. There were no reports of neuritis or neuroma formation and only three patients had a pneumothorax. This work provides evidence that cryoanalgesia is a safe and efficacious method of providing analgesia for chronic thoracic pain due to intercostal neuralgia.

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