If you are scheduled for an ACL reconstruction surgery, you may be prescribed a cold therapy unit for cryotherapy to help in your recovery. If you aren't, you may want to ask your orthopedic surgeon about cryotherapy. According to research, cryotherapy is an effective way of reducing pain immediately after ACL reconstruction. It can also improve knee range of motion. Here's what you need to know about a cold therapy unit and using one for cryotherapy.
Cold Therapy Unit
A cold therapy unit is a device that circulates a flow of a cold liquid solution into a specialized wrap that fits around your knee. Older models of cold therapy units use ice water. However, newer models use a solution made of rubbing alcohol and water. The cold therapy unit connects to a knee wrap with hoses that go to and from the unit to the wrap, which allows for a continuous flow of the solution. When using the unit, elevate the affected knee for the recommended period of time. This is typically about half an hour of continual cold. When the unit shuts off, you will be free to remove the wrap from your knee.
During your usage of the cold therapy unit, you will need to make sure the reservoir is filled with the solution. While there shouldn't be any leaks, the solution will need to be replenished periodically. The cold therapy unit should come with a bottle of the solution for your ease. If you run out of this fluid, follow the user's manual for instructions on how to properly mix the solution or contact your orthopedic surgeon's office or cryotherapy clinic for advice.
Most medical insurance will cover the costs of renting a cold therapy unit. However, you may need to have pre-authorization from your insurance before you pick the unit up from the surgeon or cryotherapy clinic. Typically, units are rented for a brief time period, such as one week or ten days, for immediate use following ACL reconstruction surgery. Therefore, if a cold therapy unit is prescribed, you will need to pick the unit up before the date of your surgery, so it is ready and waiting for you to use when you return home after surgery. When it's time to return the unit, make sure that all of the accessories, such as the power cord, are also in the bag so you will not be charged additional fees or late charges.