Cold therapy treatment, also known as cryotherapy, assists with managing pain and inflammation post-surgery or injury.  This “icing” after surgery not only helps with managing pain after surgery but also reduces swelling to help patients heal faster.


Reusable cold packs, such as those filled with gel, can be kept in the freezer ready for use when needed. They are easily re-frozen after each use to be used again. Ice packs can be made with cubed, crushed, and wetted ice.

Polar care units are motorized (pump-driven) cold therapy devices that constantly circulate ice water to provide hours of relief. Many patients find motorized units more convenient and comfortable solution than traditional ice packs. The pads conform to injured areas, delivering cold therapy directly to the joint where it’s needed. The device constantly circulates ice water through the unit to the surgical extremity, eliminating the need to hold small, leaky, or awkward ice packs that constantly need replacing.

Whichever option, never apply ice directly to the skin. Instead, be sure that there is a protective barrier between the ice and skin, such as a towel.


With the addition of ice and water, patients receive 6-8 hours of effortless cold therapy. Follow instructions provided by the manufacturer on how to operate and guidelines for use provided by your Orthopedic Surgeon. Typically, our recommendation is to use it continuously for the first 48 hours after surgery. For the next 5-7 days, use 3-5 times per day in 30-45 minutes increments. After that, it can be used as needed for pain.

We recommend patients procure the Breg Polar Care unit before surgery. Patients may bring the unit to surgery to start using immediately following their procedure if desired.  Insurances currently do not cover the devices, however. Please contact us to learn if the Breg Polar Care unit is right for you.

Additional orthopedic patient education about cryotherapy can be found here.