Classes & Events News Get

Life-Changing Pain Relief Using the Body's Response to Cold

March 20, 2024

Scott Hiovera

If you think an ice pack helps with knee pain, just imagine what the freezing effects of nitrous oxide can do inside the body. This cold therapy procedure for osteoarthritis is called iovera®, and Scott H. experienced its dramatic results firsthand a few weeks before his scheduled knee replacement surgery. In short, he describes his pain relief as immediate, non-narcotic, and life-changing.

“I worked for 40 years, mostly as a flooring installer, which put a lot of pressure on my knees and hips,” says Scott, who at age 65 has been retired for about 10 years. “I crawled around on my hands and knees and did things to my body that it’s not designed to do, so my knees were shot.”

A Preventive Approach to Pain Relief

Scott had severe osteoarthritic knee pain and was scheduled for surgery with Atlantic Health System orthopedic surgeon Jeffrey Leary, MD. Dr. Leary’s team recommended iovera to alleviate post-surgical pain. Since Scott had undergone a knee replacement two years prior and recalled the painful physical therapy and recovery, he was intrigued by the treatment.

Scott met with Atlantic Health System sports medicine physician Daniel Harrington, DO, who would perform the iovera procedure. Using nitrous oxide, Dr. Harrington would apply freezing cold to targeted peripheral nerve tissue to immediately block pain signals to Scott’s brain. The pain relief would last about three months.

“The iovera device uses cryoneurolysis, the application of a freezing agent, to target sensory nerves and temporarily destroy pain-transmitting components to immediately reduce pain,” says Dr. Harrington.

“The device delivers a flow of liquid nitrous oxide into a “smart tip” closed-end needle. Nitrous oxide is then discharged as a gas through the handpiece, leaving nothing behind in the body. This gives patients immediate long-lasting pain relief until the nerve regenerates. It allows patients to improve their range of motion and strength more quickly after surgery. It also eliminates any need for opioids.”

A Stunning Difference in Recovery

Scott watched on the monitor as Dr. Harrington cryogenically froze five nerve endings in his knee. When the procedure was complete, Scott says he noticed immediate relief that improved daily.

“I talked with Dr. Harrington through the whole procedure and asked lots of questions. He’s a super nice guy, and I was fascinated by the technology and the process,” says Scott. “About a week after my surgery, I felt zero pain. None. My knee pain was completely gone.”

When Scott considers his pain level of this knee replacement as compared to his first knee replacement two years ago, he says there’s no comparison. This time, he was able to tackle his physical therapy pain-free without the need for medications.

“Iovera has been a home run pre-operatively for knees. We’re seeing such success with it that it is becoming standard for Medicare patients undergoing knee replacements,” says Dr. Harrington. He explains that iovera is approved by the FDA for osteoarthritis and is covered by standard Medicare. Self-pay rates and flexible payment options are also available for patients seeking iovera to manage chronic knee, shoulder and hip pain.

Using Iovera to Help Rebuild a Knee

“Iovera cold therapy is incredible,” says Scott. “My knee didn’t hurt at all during physical therapy. In fact, it was my bad hip that limited my rehabilitation, so I went back to Dr. Leary for a hip replacement. I now have three titanium joints and I’m making good progress in physical therapy. Soon I’ll be back to hiking in the woods with my dog, hopefully pain-free. For me, that’s what retirement is all about.”

  • Patient Stories
  • Orthopedics