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Cox announces addition of cryoanalgesia to treat pain

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And you thought the stethoscope was cold.

Cox Health Systems has announced it has obtained a cryoanalgesia system for use in the Regional Center for Pain Management at Cox Medical Center North, according to a news release from Cox.

Cox is the first pain center in southwest Missouri to add this option for the treatment of long-term pain that is not relieved by other means, the release stated.

Cryoanalgesia is a new application of a procedure that has been around for many years. It involves using extremely low temperatures to freeze peripheral nerves, which keeps the pain sensation from traveling to the brain.

The procedure usually takes 20 to 30 minutes using X-ray visualization. The pain relief from one treatment usually lasts several weeks to several months.

Sometimes, normal nerve function can return. In such cases, cryoanalgesia may be repeated as often as necessary. The procedure is less expensive than some more aggressive pain treatments, does not have the side-effects or problems that many other treatments have, and is covered by Medicare, Cox stated.

Some types of chronic pain that have shown improvement with cryoanalgesia treatments include facial pain from trigeminal neuralgia, cancer pain, post-herpetic neuralgia, low back pain, lumbar disc syndrome, sciatic nerve pain, nerve entrapment syndromes, pain associated with the later stages of multiple sclerosis, perineal pain, flexion contractures and scarring of nerves from old injuries, the release said.

The list of treatable types of pain continues to grow as cryoanalgesia is used.

Some acute pain that can be treated with cryoanalgesia includes post-operative pain for upper abdominal (gallbladder or stomach), lung or heart surgery.

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