Intraoperative electroneurography-guided intercostal nerve cryoablation for pain control after thoracoabdominal aneurysm open surgical repair

Daniele Mascia, Andrea Kahlberg, Sarah Tinaglia, Americo Pena, Dhaniel Morgad De Freitas, Ubaldo Del Carro, Luca Bosco, Fabrizio Monaco, Monica de Luca, Roberto Chiesa, Germano Melissano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Postoperative pain after thoracoabdominal (TAAA) or thoracic (TAA) aortic aneurysm open surgical repair may be debilitating and induce limitations in mobilization resulting in a longer length of stay, higher rate of pulmonary adverse events, readmissions, and a higher risk of mortality. Commonly employed analgesic strategies do not completely solve this issue and have their own drawbacks. Cryoablation of intercostal nerves has been proposed as an appealing alternative to address the postoperative pain. Methods: Between 2020 and 2021, data of all consecutive patients undergoing TAA or TAAA aortic aneurysms open repair with electroneurography-guided cryoablation of intercostal nerves were collected. Postoperative pain was recorded using patient-reported 0-10 numeric rating scale (NRS). Need for adjunctive opioid drugs and postoperative complications were also recorded. Narcotic usage was calculated as morphine milligram equivalents (MMEs) per day. Results: A total of 15 patients (8 males, mean age 61.1-year-old) underwent open surgical repair for TAAA (13 cases) or TAA (2 cases) and received intercostal nerve cryoablation. There were no intraoperative deaths and cases of spinal cord ischemia. Overall, 70 intercostal nerves underwent electroneurography-guided cryoablation, with a mean of 4.6 nerves per patient. On the first day after extubating, mean NRS was 4.6 and the MMEs calculated was 6.7, decreasing over the days. There was one case of pneumonia and atelectasis requiring bronchoscopy. There were no reported bowel complications. The mean postoperative length of stay was 16 days and in the intensive care unit stay was 6.5 days. Conclusions: Electroneurography-guided cryoablation of intercostal nerves is a safe and reproducible technique which can be used in addition to systemic pain management for TAA and TAAA open repair.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-135
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Angiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Aortic aneurysm
  • Cryosurgery
  • Intercostal Nerves
  • Thoracic


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