By Dr. Deanna Lites

DETROIT (WWJ) – A cool treatment is offering faster relief for patients having knee surgery. St. Joseph Mercy Oakland is the first in the state to offer the new therapy.

About a week before some of his patients head to the operating room for knee replacement surgery. Orthopedic surgeon Safa Kassab sees them in his office so that he can freeze the nerves around their knee reports WWJ Health Reporter Dr. Deanna Lites.

“You essentially freeze them, which kind of knocks them up for several weeks so that when the patients have their surgery — after surgery they have less pain, because those nerves are essentially kind of numb for the next six weeks after we do this procedure,” says Kassab.

The freezing procedure takes a few minutes and is performed with a hand held device.

He says so far the results have been “excellent.”

Kassab says it allows patients to start rehab sooner and patients don’t have to take as much pain medicine after surgery.

According to Kassab, nearly 700,000 knee replacement procedures are performed annually in the United States.

He says the new pre-surgical treatment also provides surgeons and anesthesiologists with a non-systemic, non-narcotic alternative to more traditional approaches to pain management such as steroid injections and the use of strong opioids such as morphine, fentanyl, and oxycodone. Using the body’s natural response to cold, this new treatment reduces the need for such medications.

“Limiting opiate use in pain management is gaining more and more favor among surgeons due to addiction concerns,” said Dr. Kassab. “Drugs and drug dependence is a serious problem facing our community. I can now reduce or eliminate these addiction risks for many of my patients by using this new, innovative method of pain management.”

A release from St. Joseph Mercy Oakland says you can find a referral to a physician offering this treatment, by calling 1-800-372-6094.

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