April 18, 2024

COOLIEF* – Changing the Pain Management Game

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Pain management is an essential element of today’s medical landscape. Many people live with chronic pain and need viable solutions to help them mitigate it. Others encounter acute pain, such as what happens in the aftermath of a major surgery. Fortunately, advances in pain management are allowing for safe and effective pain relief. One such technique is COOLIEF*.

Jonathan Beck, certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) at Fort HealthCare, shares helpful information about this pain management option—specific to knee replacement surgery.

What Does COOLIEF* Involve?

COOLIEF* is a therapy that has been in use for many years to address chronic pain. Now, this same therapy is being increasingly used to treat acute pain. In the case of knee replacement surgery, COOLIEF* involves a two-step process.

The first is a diagnostic genicular nerve block, which is performed two to four weeks prior to surgery. During this nerve block, a short-acting local anesthetic is injected next to four separate nerves. This temporarily stops those nerves from transmitting pain signals to the brain. It is a brief procedure, lasting only about 5-10 minutes. Patients don’t need to fast prior to the nerve block, and many return to work the same day.

“The relief from the diagnostic nerve block is only intended to last between six and 12 hours. So, the purpose of this block is to ensure those four nerves are the ones responsible for pain you’re having,” explains Beck.

Step two is COOLIEF*—done one week prior to the knee replacement surgery. A probe delivers targeted thermal damage to a specific sensory nerve that is relaying the pain signals. “It’s those same four nerves we did the diagnostic nerve block on. This degrades the transmission of a painful signal, and pain is decreased while the nerve structure heals,” he adds.

The COOLIEF* procedure takes about 30 minutes. It requires solid-food fasting and IV sedation. “It’s not a procedure you have to be awake for, or have to remember, because it can be painful. It takes about another 30 minutes to recover after the procedure. Then, you can go home,” notes Beck. “We ask you not to do any working or any strenuous activity that day but to resume your normal activity or work schedule the day after.”

Why Is COOLIEF* Changing the Game?

It is well known that pain management is a complex journey. The opioid problem in America reflects that. COOLIEF* is a non-opioid solution that gives patients relief without risk. For knee replacement patients, it is a complement to advanced surgical techniques and post-operative physical therapy.

“If we can give patients a springboard to recovery, to help with not only pain management but also to encourage their participation with physical therapy, I believe we can move the needle and provide people a better recovery after their total knee surgery,” asserts Beck. “Anytime we can decrease the amount of nerves transmitting pain, we reduce the patient experience of pain. Our goal is always to help patients manage their pain. They’re often looking for alternatives to using opioid therapy. Many patients do not like how they feel on those medicines. They feel like it hampers their recovery. So, giving patients an alternative to opioid therapy is a huge advantage to the COOLIEF* system.”

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