Aim: To assess the effect of different dressing types on the efficiency of cryotherapy.
Methods: Eighteen normal volunteers were divided equally into group 1-no dressing, group 2-thin adhesive dressing (tegaderm), and group 3--bulky dressing ("wool and crepe"). Cryotherapy (cryocuff and autochill) was applied to one knee with the other knee serving as control. Skin temperature was measured bilaterally every 5 min for 2 h. Statistical analysis used temperature differences between control and test knees.
Results: The mean baseline skin temperature differences were not statistically different among the three groups (p=0.96). The mean skin temperature decreases at 2 h measured, 17 degrees C (S.D.=0.8) in group 1, 17 degrees C (S.D.=1.9) in group 2, and 5 degrees C (S.D.=1.4) in group 3. "Wool and crepe" significantly impaired the cooling effect of cryotherapy (p<0.001). Tegaderm showed no significant effect (p=0.6).
Conclusions: Wool and crepe dressings following knee surgery would prevent effective cryotherapy, whereas, thin adhesive dressings would not.