Active Temperature Control During Cryotherapy for Improved Healing Potential and Reduced Risk of Ischemic Injury

Life Sciences : Medical Devices

Available for licensing

Inventors

  • Kenneth Diller, Sc.D. , Biomedical Engineering
  • Sepideh Khoshnevis, Ph.D. , Biomedical Engineering

Background/unmet need

Therapeutic cooling of injured and inflamed tissue has been practiced for thousands of years, and today there are dozens of commercial devices and models on the market for performing cryotherapy.

Although cryotherapy devices are widely used within various subdisciplines across the medical community, there are only limited scientific data on the temperatures they produce on the skin surface and practically no data on the effect they have on suppressing the perfusion of blood in the treatment area. The common assumption is that blood perfusion follows temperature: when temperature goes down, so does perfusion, and vice versa. However, our data show that blood perfusion may remain depressed long after the end of active cooling and the return of tissue temperatures toward normothermia. Many of the thousands of injuries that result from cryotherapy could result from prolonged ischemia in addition to direct cold injury.

There is a need for a new class of devices and cryotherapy methods that retain the desirable benefits of cooling soft tissues that have sustained an injury or inflammation while reducing the untoward risk of causing ischemia derived injury in the affected area. The invention incorporates features designed precisely to meet this need.

Invention Description

This invention defines a new generation of cryotherapy devices that are designed to provide the therapeutic benefits of cooling injured and inflamed tissues while reducing or avoiding the undesirable side effects and possible injuries associated with an induced prolonged state of ischemia. The invention embodies new technologies for thermal stimulation applied to the tissue and for ensuring that there is not a long-term loss of blood flow to the treatment area and to distal locations.

Benefits/Advantages

    The invention provides the advantages of cooling tissue to reduce swelling, inflammation and pain, and it does so with a scientifically designed delivery of low temperature to the skin surface. The invention in its inherent operational features also limits the prolonged imposition of ischemia in the treatment tissue. In combination or singularly, these features have the characteristic of lowering the risk of cryotherapy causing tissue necrosis and nerve damage in conjunction with cooling of tissue. 

Features

     The invention is designed to be applied in all venues where cryotherapy is used medically, including treatment of post-surgery soft tissue injury during the healing process and sports injuries. The invention may also be useful for states of operation at temperatures higher than are considered therapeutic for achieving comfort to aching muscles and joints or for inducing a soothing and relaxing sensation.

Development Stage

Lab/bench prototype

IP Status

  • 1 U.S. patent application filed