NEW ORLEANS -- A patient has had knee pain for 42 years, but with a quick office procedure Wednesday, she got major relief.
And not only does it work on knee pain, but it can help headaches and wrinkles too.
Leslie Griffin, 62, has had knee pain since she was 20 from rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease that causes joints to deteriorate.
Knee replacements 15 years ago dramatically helped, but then she slipped during the Hurricane Katrina turmoil and has not been independent since.
In the last year I've been doing more falling and more. It's really in excruciating pain now, said Griffin.
Caring for her bedridden husband kept her going and enduring the pain, but now he's gone.
I think why I kept going and doing all I had to do is because he was disabled and I had to take care of him, and now that I'm focusing on myself, I realize all the pain is really here. It's not a joke. It's not clowning. I'm in pain, Griffin said.
LSUHSC orthopedic surgeon Dr. Vinod Dasa will perform another knee replacement on Leslie on Monday, but Wednesday he is using something new to take away her pain.
So once we freeze the nerve, it stops transmitting the pain and you're feeling much better, Dr. Dasa said.
Iovera uses nitrous oxide canisters to freeze the tiny needles in the device to -126 degrees. Then the three little needles go in the skin and freezes the pain nerves.
For Leslie, it was instant relief.
Wow, no pain, she said when the doctor asks her to bend her knee.
I've had some patients that can last for a few weeks. I've had other patients six to eight months of pain relief. No chemicals. No drug. No nothing. We're just taking the natural ability, the body's natural response to cold and putting it to our advantage, said Dr. Dasa.
Iovera is FDA-approved for pain. There are doctors also using it off-label though for spasticity and headaches. And in Europe and the UK, doctors are using it to temporarily get rid of wrinkles in the forehead, kind of like Botox but without the chemical injection.
Leslie's daughter Michelle, 25, is holding off on her wedding date for her mom.
My daughter's getting married. I want to be able to walk, you know, step proudly down the aisle. And that's one of the things that really motivated me more, because I don't want to have a cane, a walker. I want to walk, said Leslie.
Dr. Dasa is the only U.S. doctor using the Iovera before surgery, and one of only 20 doctors doing the treatment.