Feasibility and efficacy of cryoneurolysis analgesia in robotic-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (CARTS): a pilot study

Jivatesh Tung, Rishi Patel, Taufiq Rajwani, Shiwei Han, Neil Hanson, Joel Sternbach, Michal Hubka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Opioid therapy has been the mainstay therapy of post-operative pain management in thoracic surgery patients. With the high incidence of chronic pain in thoracic surgery patients and adverse effects of opioids, we examined the safety and efficacy of cryoneurolysis as an adjunct for narcotic-free pain management in robotic-assisted thoracoscopic lobectomies. Ten consecutive patients undergoing robotic-assisted (DaVinci) pulmonary resection and cryoneurolysis were compared to ten patients managed without intraoperative cryoneurolysis. All patients received multimodal pain regimen including paravertebral blocks as per our institutional enhanced recovery pathway. Patients with chronic pain and chronic opioid use were excluded. We compared inpatient and outpatient opioid consumption measured in morphine equivalents (mme), incidence of opioid-free outpatient recovery, and adverse events. The two groups did not differ significantly in terms of baseline demographics. Both inpatient (88.13 vs 26.92 mme) and outpatient (118.5 vs 34.5 mme) use of narcotics were significantly lower in the cryoneurolysis group (p < 0.05) with seven of ten patients receiving cryoneurolysis able to recover without the use of opioids in the outpatient setting, compared to two in the control group. One patient reported post-operative neuralgia in each cryoneurolysis and control group. There were no readmissions in either group and mean length of stay was identical at 1.7 days in control group and 1.1 days in experimental group (p = 0.33). The use of intraoperative intercostal cryoneurolysis may safely reduce the utilization of outpatient opioids in patients undergoing robotic-assisted thoracoscopic surgery. A randomized controlled trial is warranted to validate these findings in a larger cohort of patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)597-600
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Robotic Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 27 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag London Ltd., part of Springer Nature.


  • Cryoneurolysis
  • Lobectomy
  • Multimodal pain control
  • Opioid free discharge
  • Pulmonary resections
  • Robotic
  • VATS


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