CT-guided cryoablation for post-thoracotomy pain syndrome: A retrospective analysis

Junaid Yasin, Nanda Thimmappa, Jussuf T. Kaifi, Diego M. Avella, Ryan Davis, Sanjit O. Tewari, Sachin S. Saboo, Ambarish Bhat*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


PURPOSE Post-thoracotomy pain syndrome is a common condition affecting up to 50% of post-thoracotomy patients. However, percutaneous computed tomography (CT)-guided intercostal nerve cryoablation may provide symptomatic benefit in chronic and/or refractory cases. METHODS A retrospective review of our institution’s comprehensive case log from October 2017 to September 2018 for patients who underwent cryoablation was analyzed. Thirteen patients with post-thoracotomy pain syndrome, refractory to medical management, were treated with CT-guided intercostal nerve cryoablation. Most patients had treatment of the intercostal nerve at the level of their thoracotomy scar, two levels above and below. The safety and technical success of this technique and the clinical outcomes of the study population were then retrospectively reviewed. RESULTS Of the patients, 69% experienced significant improvement in their pain symptoms with a median pain improvement score of 3 points (range,-1 to 8 points) over a median follow-up of 11 months (range, 2–18.6 months). Complications included pneumothorax in 8% and pseudohernia in 23% of patients. CONCLUSION CT-guided intercostal nerve cryoablation may be an effective technique in the treatment of post-thoracotomy pain syndrome and requires further study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-57
Number of pages5
JournalDiagnostic and Interventional Radiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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