Cold compressive dressing after total knee arthroplasty

Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1994 Feb;(299):143-6.


The efficacy of a cold compressive dressing after total knee arthroplasty (TKA) was prospectively studied in 105 knees in 76 patients. All components were cemented. All patients were placed in continuous passive motion machines after operation. A cold compressive Cryocuff dressing was applied to 50 knees after operation. An ACE wrap and ice pack were applied to the knees of 55 control patients after operation. Postoperative range of motion was recorded as maximum active flexion at two to four days (interval one), at seven to 14 days (interval two), and four to six weeks (interval three). Swelling was measured at the same time intervals by circumference at the midpatella and circumference at the distal thigh one inch proximal to the superior pole of the patella. Use of postoperative narcotics was calculated for postoperative days zero to three and for postoperative days four to seven. Wound drainage was recorded for all knees. The use of a cold compressive dressing after TKA was not associated with an increase in range of motion at any point after the operation. The Cryocuff dressing did not appreciably reduce swelling around the knee after TKA. No significant difference was found in the amount of postoperative wound drainage between the two groups of patients. In patients undergoing unilateral TKA, no significant difference existed between the narcotic requirements of control patients and patients wearing the cold compressive dressing.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics, Opioid / therapeutic use
  • Bandages*
  • Cryotherapy / methods*
  • Equipment Design
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint* / physiopathology
  • Knee Prosthesis*
  • Pain, Postoperative / drug therapy
  • Postoperative Care / methods*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Time Factors


  • Analgesics, Opioid