Cryotherapy is widely used as an emergency treatment of sports trauma and postoperatively especially after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. Studies in the literature on the effect of cryotherapy after total knee arthroplasty (TKA) have been limited and controversial. In this prospective study, 60 primary TKAs were done on 30 patients (all staged bilateral TKAs). For every patient, 1 TKA had a continuous-flow cooling device applied over the surgical dressing immediately postoperatively. The other TKA in the same patient (control TKA) was done 6 weeks later and had no cooling device. The study compared the range of motion, the volume of hemovac output and blood loss, visual analog pain score, analgesic consumption, and wound healing in the 2 limbs of the same patient. This study showed that continuous-flow cold therapy is advantageous after TKA because it provides better results in all the areas compared.
Copyright 2002, Elsevier Science (USA).