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Arthroscopy. 1998 Mar;14(2):130-5.

Continuous-flow cold therapy for outpatient anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction.

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Plano Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Center, Texas 75093, USA.


This prospective, randomized study evaluated continuous-flow cold therapy for postoperative pain in outpatient arthroscopic anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstructions. In group 1, cold therapy was constant for 3 days then as needed in days 4 through 7. Group 2 had no cold therapy. Evaluations and diaries were kept at 1, 2, and 8 hours after surgery, and then daily. Pain was assessed using the VAS and Likert scales. There were 51 cold and 49 noncold patients included. Continuous passive movement (CPM) use averaged 54 hours for cold and 41 hours for noncold groups (P=.003). Prone hangs were done for 192 minutes in the cold group and 151 minutes in the noncold group. Motion at 1 week averaged 5/88 for the cold group and 5/79 the noncold group. The noncold group average visual analog scale (VAS) pain and Likert pain scores were always greater than the cold group. The noncold group average Vicodin use (Knoll, Mt. Olive, NJ) was always greater than the cold group use (P=.001). Continuous-flow cold therapy lowered VAS and Likert scores, reduced Vicodin use, increased prone hangs, CPM, and knee flexion. Continuous-flow cold therapy is safe and effective for outpatient ACL reconstruction reducing pain medication requirements.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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