Avera Medical Minute: iovera procedure blocks pain at nerve site

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KSFY) - A new procedure that blocks pain right at the nerve site has made a substantial difference for Aberdeen patient Michele Eisenbeisz. After a painful recovery from her first knee replacement surgery, Michele's doctor suggested a procedure a few weeks before her second surgery, iovera injections. The idea of less pain caught Michele's attention, as this active teacher wanted to continue activities with her students as soon as possible.

iovera blocks pain at nerve site

"It looked like an EpiPen, you know that you have at school," said Eisenbeisz. After the thirty-minute procedure, she went home and woke up the next morning without pain.

"I still had one more week of school, teaching with my kids and I thought this is the best I felt all year do I really need to have the surgery? Yeah I did," said Eisenbeisz.

The freedom from pain before the surgery was just the beginning. Doctor Patrick Miller says Iovera procedure helped Michele after knee replacement surgery. "Her recovery was remarkably better, she had much less pain, she was able to push forward with her therapy, much faster. We even decreased her hospital stay by a day," said Doctor Miller.

The iovera procedure is a three-pronged device. Once the points reach the nerves, the area is frozen to minus 88 degrees Fahrenheit. iovera doesn't destroy the nerves, but it disrupts them for up to 9 months and can be used for more than knee pain.

"It can be used for any peripheral nerve, there are some chronic pain specialists around the country that are using it for migraine headaches,"
said Doctor Miller. A local anesthetic is used to numb the area before the iovera injections.

"You should go with the iovera injection, it really worked for me. I will brag it up as much as I possibly can. It worked for me and I'll tell others," said Eisenbeisz.

In some cases, iovera is replacing a previous procedure, where the nerves were completely destroyed. This less invasive choice offers pain relief for months until the nerves heal and become functional once again.