In the August 2010 Journal of Arthroplasty, a meta-analysis review of several different papers reporting on the use of cryotherapy after knee replacement was published. The authors from Australia found that there was some evidence of improvement with regard to patient comfort and knee range of motion in the early postoperative period, but they did not find evidence of benefits with regard to blood loss or lasting benefits after discharge from the hospital.
We continue to use ice after surgery for our total knee replacement patients mainly due to the patient response to such icing therapy. It is perceived that this helps and does decrease the amount of pain. Further studies are required to determine if such improvement will be long lasting and make a long-term difference.
—William P. Barrett, MD