What is Cryoablation?

Also known as cryoneurolysis, cryoablation is a minimally invasive, needle procedure using cold therapy to reduce pain in areas such as the knees, hips, shoulders, chest, feet, face, and ankles.

How will I know if Cryoablation will help me specifically?

Your doctor will recommend this procedure only if they think it may have the ability to help you. A test with local anesthesia is often done to test responsiveness of the nerve being targeted. 

Some of the conditions most suited are osteoarthritis and postsurgical pain.

It is important to understand that cryoablation might NOT help you even under optimal conditions. 

Cryoablation should not be done in patient with the following conditions: Blood that thickens when patient is exposed to cold (cryoglobulinemia), blood appearing in the urine when patient is exposed to the cold (paroxysmal cold hemoglobinuria), skin rash that appears when patient is exposed to the cold (cold urticaria), narrowing of the blood vessels in the hands and feet when patient is exposed to the cold (Raynaud’s disease), and open and/or infected wounds at or near the treatment site.

How much does Cryoablation cost?

MSP covers the physician fees for delivering cryoablation. 

There is an upgrade fee of $1,000.00 which covers the costs of medications (local anesthesia) and specialized equipment (handheld machine, one-time use cryoprobe, injection equipment) used to deliver the service. This is not covered by MSP. 

Cryoablation FAQs

During cryoablation, a thin, wand-like needle called a cryoprobe is inserted through the skin. The cryoprobe is placed directly onto the tissues near the nerve involved. Nitrous oxide gas is pumped into the cryoprobe to freeze the tissue, then the tissue is allowed to thaw. The freezing and thawing process may be repeated several times. The freezing of the tissue temporarily interrupts the signal transmission of pain from specific nerves to the brain.

The skin of the area is cleaned with antiseptic solution and then the procedure is carried out. After injection of a local anesthetic, a small closed-end needle is positioned next to the targeted nerves. Once the needle is in place, the nitrous oxide will reduce the temperature (around – 88oC) at the nerves up to the point that signal transmission is stopped. The needle is then removed, and the procedure is complete. 

The patient position during the procedure depends on the nerve being targeted. The procedure takes around 30-60 minutes, and the effect might be noticed immediately, and sometimes take up to 6 weeks to have effect.

Talk to your physician about stopping any medications prior to this treatment. Avoid exercise and/or strenuous activities for 2 to 5 days after your procedure.

Your physician will discuss the specific circumstance with you and if you should repeat the treatment.

  • We use state of the art technology and high sterility standards;
  • We are one of few accredited pain clinics in BC with high level expertise and experience in chronic pain interventions;
  • We explore all appropriate non-cryoablation procedures to optimize effective solutions;
  • We offer cutting edge evidence-based therapies, and we are constantly reviewing data to improve these results.

Every patient’s response is different. Because the procedure is done to a peripheral nerve, the nerve does grow back eventually. The pain relief should be several months, but that can vary depending on the length of the nerve and where it is targeted. For some patients, cryoablation will have little or no effect on pain levels.

As with any procedure, there are some risks and side effects, and your doctor will discuss these with you. Some possible side effects are bruising, swelling, inflammation and/or redness, local pain and/or tenderness, and altered feeling at the application site and in the area of the nerve targeted. Some people describe feeling pressure or tugging during the treatment, as well as cold, warm, and tingling sensations, and some level of discomfort.


There will be numbness in the area after a successful cryoablation, similar to the feeling of the nerve block. This can take several months to fade. There is the possibility of increased pain after cryoablation.

  • Mild-side effects include: Local injection site pain and mild bruising
  • Moderate side effects include: Localized skin infection at the injection site, moderate bruising or hematoma formation
  • Severe risks include: Severe intra-articular infection also known a septic arthritis, severe intra-articular bleeding, contiguous structural damage such as nerve or blood vessel injury, or allergy (severe swelling, hives, low blood pressure)

Ask your Medical Doctor or Nurse Practitioner for a referral to have a consultation with one of our Pain Specialists.


Cost of Initial Assessments - Non-MSP Medical

Private Medical Consultation (PMC) Multidisciplinary Private Assessment (MDPA)
Description Expedited, focused assessment to determine fit for non-MSP covered services requested:
IV Lidocaine Infusion, Ketamine Therapies, Prolotherapy, BOTOX, Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP).
Comprehensive functional and medical assessment with a multidisciplinary report addressing the biopsychosocial issues identified.
Care Team Pain Specialist Pain Specialist
Functional Movement Specialist
Duration 30 minutes 2 hours
Cost $450.00 $3,500.00

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Cost of Initial Assessments - Allied Health

Assessment Duration Cost
Chiropractic Initial 60 minutes $165.00
Physiotherapy Initial 60 minutes $160.00
Kinesiology Initial 45 minutes $90.00 (+ tax)
Counselling Initial 90 minutes $250.00
Acupuncture Initial 45 minutes $140.00
Ketamine Counselling Initial for Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy 60 minutes $250.00

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