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J Knee Surg. 2008 Jan;21(1):15-9.

Comparison of a continuous temperature-controlled cryotherapy device to a simple icing regimen following outpatient knee arthroscopy.

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Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC 29425, USA.


This prospective, randomized study compared postoperative pain control with use of a continuous temperature-controlled cryotherapy system versus a traditional ice therapy regimen following outpatient knee arthroscopy. Patients with unilateral knee pathology scheduled for outpatient arthroscopic surgery were included. Patients with major ligament reconstructions were excluded. A specific cold therapy regimen was begun postoperatively and continued for 2 weeks as adjunctive management of postoperative pain. Preoperative and postoperative pain intensity, pain type, functionality, and sleep quality were assessed. Patients were randomly assigned to either an ice or a continuous cryotherapy group. Follow-up questionnaires were completed on 5 postoperative days. Data were analyzed using a chi-square test with a level of significance at P < 0.05. Fifty-three patients completed the study. Pain intensity was similar between groups throughout the course of the study. Among patients who reported experiencing night pain, 36% of those in the continuous cryotherapy group were able to sleep soundly with minimal awakening through postoperative day 2 versus 5.9% among the ice therapy group (P = 0.04). No significant differences existed between groups regarding functional ability, and no differences were noted on other follow-up days. These findings support use of continuous temperature-controlled cold therapy devices for nighttime pain control and improved quality of life in the early period following routine knee arthroscopy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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