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Be Prepared for Surgery

Posted by Jordan Hitchens on

If you are reading this, you are probably planning for surgery or know someone who is.

Decades ago (don’t worry, we won’t ask you how many decades 😉) you learned basic things such as how to count, the alphabet, and to say please when you would like something and thank you when you received it.   Such fundamental lessons make life easier now that you have grown older. Another lesson you probably learned when you were younger is to be on time.

When discussing surgery, timing is your best friend. Your surgeon has prepared for decades for your scheduled appointment. Your surgeon knows how to troubleshoot and how to best treat your specific issues. The nursing staff has honed their skills for years and years. The hospital has multiple checklists to verify and confirm with you so mistakes are avoided. Your job is to adhere to the doctor’s orders, not eat the day of surgery, push through the rehab groans and aches, and to adhere to a good pain management program. Some progressive surgeons and doctors are also recommending patients seek out “cold therapy” to aid in their post-operative recovery.

Let’s shed some light on why your surgeon might have prescribed this cold therapy for you.

There are numerous published research articles available on PubMed, but a good overview of cold and compression therapy is one from Open Access Journal of Sports Medicine. [LINK]

In the study, the authors focused on one standard surgery, total knee arthroplasty (TKA or knee replacement). They found,

Findings from randomized controlled trials of knee arthroplasty generally showed cold compression therapy provides better outcomes such as pain relief than alternative interventions.” 

The authors also outlined in their “Rationale for Compression Therapy” the following,

The local application of cold suppresses the metabolic rate of the immediately surrounding soft tissue. This decrease in tissue metabolism is associated with a reduction in enzymatic activity, preventing tissue damage caused by hypoxia.9,10 Local hypothermia induces vasoconstriction and lowers microcirculation by more than 60%, an effect that can persist for up to 30 minutes after cessation of cooling.1113 

The paper also looks into miscellaneous injuries such as ankle sprains, knee ligament repairs, ankle fractures, and shoulder surgery (including rotator cuff & total shoulder arthroplasty). In particular, a referenced study about the shoulder [LINK] Speer et al, showed that there was  

“[a] significant difference favoring cryotherapy in man pain severity scores, the frequency of shoulder pain, comfort lying in bed, ease of sleep, and the perceived need for narcotics.” Further, “Significant differences in outcomes in favor of cryotherapy were generally maintained at day 10 including pain during rehabilitation exercises and perceptions of swelling.”

These are very impressive results for just being “cold therapy”. Sometimes a simple remedy is really the best choice.

Now back to those life-long lessons you learned way back when… Don’t wait until the last minute when preparing for surgery. Like we said before, your doctor, nurses, and other members of the healthcare team have been preparing for a really long time and so should you. 

Below is a timetable that will help you go through surgery and recovery successfully:

For 108 years, the motto of the Boy Scouts, “Be Prepared”, has stood the test of time. As you plan your surgery remember to be prepared. The more you learn, the more you prepare, the better equipped you will be to take on the challenges of recovery from surgery. 

We hope you have a speedy recovery and a successful outcome. If we can be of any benefit to you or serve your recovery needs, please feel free to visit us at www.mycoldtherapy.com

As a reward for reading this far down, feel free to use the promo code “BLOG” at checkout and receive $15.00 off your order.

If you already have a cold therapy unit from a prior surgery, even better!  Give it a solid test run before your scheduled surgery. This will ensure all the parts and connections are still in working order.

Recover well!

Your friends in cold therapy recover,

Jordan and Steve