By Mark Ambrogi
Riverview Health is setting a trend with a new knee-pain treatment.
Dr. Joseph Hui, an orthopedic and sports medicine doctor with Riverview Health Physicians, said Riverview is the first organization in Indiana to utilize a new non-surgical, in-office knee-pain treatment called cryoneurolysis, a freezing procedure for the nerves.
Since conducting the treatment began in May, there have been approximately 100 patients who have had the procedure, which takes approximately 45 minutes. Hui is the main doctor conducting the treatment at Westfield Orthopedic & Sports Medicine and Hazel Dell New Hope Orthopedics & Sports Medicine in Carmel.
“The people who are candidates for the procedure are people who are having total knee replacements to help with their post-operative recovery, and we are also doing it for people who might be too young for a knee replacement,” Hui said. “We’re also doing it for people who either want to delay a knee replacement, or maybe they are not in the greatest health for a knee replacement.”
Hui said a middle-aged skier, whose knees might not be as strong as they once were, might have the procedure before a skiing trip to Colorado. Hui said it is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use for arthritis as well.
“We’re using a device called iovera. It’s a bit larger than those silly oversized pens, (but) it’s kind of like that. (The needle is) about 6 inches long,” Hui said. “It’s powered by liquid nitrogen; that’s how it generates the freezing. This device ends up freezing the nerve for us. It’s a temporary blunting of the nerve, and after awhile, it wakes back up.”
The treatment lasts from six weeks to nine months and can be repeated.