Combination of cold and compression after knee surgery. A prospective randomized study

Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 1994;2(3):158-65. doi: 10.1007/BF01467918.


The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of continuous long-term application of a combined cooling and compression system (Cryo/Cuff, Aircast Inc., Summit, New Jersey, USA) on postoperative swelling, range of motion (ROM), pain, consumption of analgesics, and return of function after anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction. We compared the cold-compression system with traditional ice therapy. There were 44 patients in the series (aged 15-40 years) who were randomly assigned to a control group (ICE) or a study group (CC). The ICE group consisted of 23 patients (aged 24.2 +/- 4.5 years); the CC group consisted of 21 patients (aged 24.8 +/- 5.6 years). The ICE group received ice bags postoperatively; the CC group was provided with the Cryo/Cuff during the 14-day hospital stay. Girth, ROM, pain score (visual analog scale), and consumption of analgesics were determined on postoperative days 1, 2, 3, 6, 14, and 28. Twelve weeks after surgery, isokinetic testing was performed, and the functional knee score was determined. In the CC group, significantly less swelling was observed (P < 0.035). These patients also reported less pain and had a significantly reduced consumption of analgesics (P < 0.04). On all examination days, ROM in the CC group was up to 17 degrees greater than in the ICE group (P < 0.02). The functional knee score was significantly increased in the CC group (P = 0.025). The results from our study document the advantages of continuous cold-compression therapy over cold alone following ACL reconstruction.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament / surgery*
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries*
  • Bandages
  • Cryotherapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Knee Injuries / surgery*
  • Male
  • Pain, Postoperative
  • Postoperative Period
  • Prospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome