Braces and Devices

Cryotherapy

Icing/Cooling Units

Surgery causes tissue trauma which leads to inflammation and pain. Cryotherapy or the use of cold in a therapeutic setting, can be important for post-operative recovery to decrease swelling and pain.

Post operatively, compression decreases swelling by preventing the accumulation of fluid. Icing decreases the metabolism of tissue and decreases blood flow, in turn decreasing inflammation.

Cryotherapy devices, such as the Ossur Cold Rush, are electrical units that consist of a chamber, tubing and pads. The chamber is filled with ice and water then attached to the pad via the tubing. The pads, which are specific to the body site (shoulder, knee, hip, ankle, back), are velcroed on to provide static compression and continuous cryotherapy. They are easy to apply and portable, therefore can be brought into the hospital. These units can be used during the initial post-operative for continuous therapy as well as in the rehabilitation phase for post physiotherapy/exercise icing.

Cryotherapy has been shown to significantly improve pain, reduce pain medication use and improve sleep after surgery. For example, studies strongly support its use after arthroscopic and joint preservation surgery.

When using these devices, it is important to follow the instructions carefully to ensure the unit is used correctly and the pads should NEVER be applied directly to the skin to avoid injury.

Most extended benefits programs cover a good portion of these devices. Please contact your surgeon’s assistant if you are interested in obtaining a cooling unit to help in your post-operative recovery.


Singh, H., Osbahr, D. C., Holovacs, T. F., Cawley, P. W., & Speer, K. P. (2001). The efficacy of continuous cryotherapy on the postoperative shoulder: a prospective, randomized investigation. Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery / American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons [Et Al], 10(6), 522–525. http://doi.org/10.1067/mse.2001.118415

Kuyucu, E., Bülbül, M., Kara, A., Koçyiğit, F., & Erdil, M. (2015). Is cold therapy really efficient after knee arthroplasty? Annals of Medicine and Surgery (2012), 4(4), 475–478. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.amsu.2015.10.019

Secrist, E. S., Freedman, K. B., Ciccotti, M. G., Mazur, D. W., & Hammoud, S. (2015). Pain Management After Outpatient Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials. The American Journal of Sports Medicine, 0363546515617737. http://doi.org/10.1177/

Uquillas, C. A., Capogna, B. M., Rossy, W. H., Mahure, S. A., & Rokito, A. S. (2016). Postoperative pain control after arthroscopic rotator cuff repair. Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery / American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons [Et Al], 25(7), 1204–1213. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.jse.2016.01.026