The Journal of Cardiothoracic Trauma

ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year
: 2019  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 28--34

A multi-institution case series of intercostal nerve cryoablation for pain control when used in conjunction with surgical stabilization of rib fractures


Frank Z Zhao1, John D Vossler3, Adam J Kaye2 
1 Department of Surgery, Division of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, The Queen's Medical Center; Department of Surgery, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI, USA
2 Department of Trauma, Overland Park Regional Medical Center, Overland Park, KS, USA

Correspondence Address:
Frank Z Zhao
Department of Surgery, Division of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, The Queen's Medical Center; Department of Surgery, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI
USA

Background: Intercostal cryoneurolysis (IC) causes axonotmesis resulting in numbness distal to the nerve lesion with eventual nerve regeneration. Reported outcomes in thoracic surgery range from the majority of patients recovering normal sensation within a few weeks to some incidences of chronic neuropathic pain. We hypothesize its use can decrease pain for rib fracture patients. Methods: Multi-institution retrospective review of 13 patients who underwent surgical stabilization of rib fractures (SSRFs) with video-assisted thoracoscopy-guided IC. Demographics included mechanism of injury, number of ribs fractured and plated, and number of intercostal nerves ablated. Outcomes include pre- and post-operative pain scores, completeness of nerve function return, and dysesthesias experienced during healing. Pre- and post-operative pain scores were compared by paired t-test. Statistical significance was attributed to P < 0.05. Results: The median age was 58 (35–77) and all injuries were caused by blunt mechanism. Median number of ribs fractured was 7 (4–11). Mean time to operation was 2.1 ± 1.2 days. Median number of ribs plated was 4 (range 3–6), and the median number of intercostal nerves ablated was 6 (3–7). Eleven patients with complete pain scores were found to have mean preoperative pain of 6.9 ± 2.3 and mean postoperative pain of 4.9 ± 2.9 (P = 0.026). The mean length of stay was 8.1 ± 2.9 days after admission and 5.9 ± 2.7 days after surgery. At an average follow-up of 21.3 ± 6.2 weeks, all patients had regained some sensation. Sensation regained ranged from 10% at 16.1 weeks to 100% as early as 15.9 weeks. One patient (7.6%) developed transient severe, lifestyle limiting, hyperesthesia present at 3 months and resolved at 6 months. 8 of 13 (61.5%) patients developed transient mild-to-moderate, nonlifestyle limiting, dysesthesias. These symptoms resolved by 6 months. Conclusion: In our patients with severe rib fractures, cryoneurolysis with SSRF resulted in significantly decreased postoperative pain and approximately 70% of patients reporting some transient dysesthesias in the recovery process. While these results are encouraging, larger, prospective studies are needed to fully characterize the indications for IC.


How to cite this article:
Zhao FZ, Vossler JD, Kaye AJ. A multi-institution case series of intercostal nerve cryoablation for pain control when used in conjunction with surgical stabilization of rib fractures.J Cardiothorac Trauma 2019;4:28-34


How to cite this URL:
Zhao FZ, Vossler JD, Kaye AJ. A multi-institution case series of intercostal nerve cryoablation for pain control when used in conjunction with surgical stabilization of rib fractures. J Cardiothorac Trauma [serial online] 2019 [cited 2023 Feb 3 ];4:28-34
Available from: https://www.jctt.org/article.asp?issn=2542-6281;year=2019;volume=4;issue=1;spage=28;epage=34;aulast=Zhao;type=0