Pain is significantly reduced by cryoablation therapy in patients with lateral minithoracotomy

Ann Thorac Surg. 2000 Sep;70(3):1100-4. doi: 10.1016/s0003-4975(00)01766-5.


Background: In minimally invasive cardiac surgery use of a lateral minithoracotomy is associated with early postoperative rehabilitation but also relatively high pain levels during the first 3 postoperative days. Cryoablation therapy was evaluated prospectively.

Methods: From April 1999 until September 1999, 57 patients underwent lateral minithoracotomy for mitral valve operation (n = 18) or minimally invasive direct coronary artery bypass grafting (n = 39). Intraoperatively, patients were randomly assigned to cryoablation or intercostal application of local anesthetic agents. A standardized questionnaire was used for prospective pain assessment on postoperative days 1 to 7.

Results: From postoperative day 1 to 7 pain levels declined in all groups. Overall pain levels were significantly lower in the cryo group than in the control group (p < 0.0001, GLM). According to diagnoses, pain levels were significantly lower after MIDCABG and cryo versus control; after mitral valve operation they were lower in the cryo group and almost reached significance.

Conclusions: Cryoablation is easy to perform and leads to a significant reduction in pain and lower request for additional pain medication after lateral minithoracotomy in minimally invasive cardiac operation.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Anesthetics, Local / therapeutic use
  • Coronary Artery Bypass / methods
  • Cryosurgery*
  • Female
  • Heart Valve Prosthesis Implantation / methods
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Minimally Invasive Surgical Procedures*
  • Mitral Valve / surgery
  • Pain, Postoperative / surgery*
  • Thoracotomy / methods*


  • Anesthetics, Local