This is a relatively new procedure that is done in the office to help improve symptoms of chronic nasal congestion and runny nose. It is done in the office with local anesthesia or in the operating room with general anesthesia when combined with other more invasive procedures (sinus surgery, septoplasty, turbinoplasty). The procedure uses a special device that can freeze the tissues in the back of the nose that contain nerve endings that cause nasal congestion. In the past these nerves were cut but this resulted in noses becoming too dry and other severe complications. By using this less invasive approach, the nerves are left in place and the tissues overlying the nerves are treated instead. Clinical research has shown this to be a safe and effective approach to treating nasal congestion
Indications: Cryoablation is indicated for patients that have tried medical management (antibiotics, nasal sprays, allergy treatment, saline rinses) but are still having nasal congestion and runny nose symptoms (blowing nose often, trouble breathing, sinus symptoms, trouble smelling, nasal drip into throat).
Preparation: Patients are given full instructions to follow for 1 week prior to their procedure. In addition, patients also continue any medical management that has been used for their nasal problems previously. Certain medications like aspirin and other blood thinners will need to be stopped in advance of the procedure. Patients may have a light breakfast the day of the procedure.
What to expect during the procedure: Cryoablation is performed primarily in the office and with local anesthesia. A nasal endoscope is used to help visualize the back part of the nose so that the cryotherapy device can placed over the tissues causing the congestion. Before the procedure is started, the nose is sprayed with a numbing spray to provide comfort during the procedure. While the numbing spray has a medicinal taste and does drip into the throat a little bit, it works very effectively and quickly. Patients may feel some pressure as the freezing is being done. The cryotherapy is done on both sides and takes 1 minute to complete (30 seconds to freeze and 30 seconds to thaw). We take our time with the numbing process to make sure the procedure is comfortable for you. Oral Valium can also be used to help patients relax.
Recovery and Follow Up: Given that Cryoablation is a minimally invasive procedure, the recovery process is limited and short. Most patients will have a spotty nosebleed and nasal congestion for 2 days after the procedure. Tylenol can be taken as needed but majority of patients have no pain – only nasal congestion. An “ice cream” headache can occur with some patients and this is managed by drinking hot tea. Normal activity with some minor restrictions can be resumed after 3 days in most cases. Follow up is usually done within 2 weeks after the procedure and sooner as needed. Dr Jafri personally calls you after the procedure and patients are given direct access to his number for any questions and concerns during the recovery process.
Costs: Cryoablation is covered by insurance. Our office will check your insurance coverage and advise of any potential costs based on your specific plan prior to scheduling any procedure. We can also provide you with the relevant CPT codes so you can speak with your insurance provider as well.
Risks: All procedures have inherent risks, benefits, alternatives and complications associated with them and to the specific individual patient being treated. Dr Jafri will review these with you in detail and answer any questions you have before you proceed with any procedure and as part of the process of whether to proceed or not.