Cryotherapy has theoretical and practical applications in the reduction of pain, swelling, and blood loss after trauma. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials on the efficacy of cryotherapy after total knee arthroplasty (TKA). Eleven studies involving 793 TKAs were included. There was considerable clinical and methodological heterogeneity. Cryotherapy resulted in small benefits in blood loss and discharge knee range of motion. There were no benefits in transfusion and analgesia requirements, pain, swelling, length of stay, and gains in knee range of motion after discharge. Despite some early gains, cryotherapy after TKA yields no apparent lasting benefits. Patient-centered outcomes remain underinvestigated. The current evidence does not support the routine use of cryotherapy after TKA.
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