A study by Mathew C Raynor, Ricardo Pietrobon, Ulrich Guller, Laurence D Higgins

Abstract

Cryotherapy is a common treatment modality after orthopedic surgery procedures. Single institutional randomized clinical trials have evaluated the efficacy of cryotherapy after arthroscopically-assisted anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction. Most of these studies were, however, underpowered to detect clinically relevant outcomes differences. This meta-analysis assessed the combined scientific evidence of studies evaluating the effectiveness of cryotherapy after arthroscopically-assisted ACL reconstruction. Electronic databases and bibliographic references of relevant articles were used to identify all relevant randomized clinical trials comparing cryotherapy to a placebo group after ACL reconstruction. Outcomes under investigation were postoperative drainage, range of motion, and pain. Random-effects models were used to combine the findings of the randomized controlled trials. Seven randomized clinical trials were included in the meta-analysis. Postoperative drainage (P=.23) and range of motion (P=.25) were not significantly different between cryotherapy and control group. However, cryotherapy was associated with significantly lower postoperative pain (P=.02). This meta-analysis showed that cryotherapy has a statistically significant benefit in postoperative pain control, while no improvement in postoperative range of motion or drainage was found. As the cryotherapy apparatus is fairly inexpensive, easy to use, has a high level of patient satisfaction, and is rarely associated with adverse events, we believe that cryotherapy is justified in the postoperative management of knee surgery.

This study was published in National Library of Medicine.

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