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Ice machine or gel pack?

in kneed

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I just spoke with my surgeon’s office. I asked about an ice machine and they don’t provide one. They suggest I buy a gel pack that can be frozen. My question for all of you:
Should I invest in the electric ice machine or I purchase a refreezable gel pack?
 

Celle

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It's really up to you.

I managed with refreezable gel packs and found them very good. I've used them for both my knee replacements.
You will need more than one, though. I bought 6 and used them two at a time, one at the front of my knee and one at the back. I kept them all in the freezer, so that I would have 2 in use, 2 re-freezing, and 2 already frozen.
I still have them. My granddaughters use them for bumps and bruises.

If you decide to go for the ice machine, you may be able to get one second-hand on Ebay. Otherwise, it seems like a large investment for a machine you won't use for more than a few months.

Have you seen these articles, that suggest things you might need for your recovery?
Recovery Aids: A comprehensive list for hospital and home
Recliner Chairs: Things you need to know if buying one for your recovery
 
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in kneed

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My thought is it might be better to use a machine that will provide hours of cold as opposed to gel packs that I feel will lose coldness sooner. Thoughts?
 

Daisy_4byz

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I didn't prefer the gel. My husband found clay-based Hot/Cold therapy wraps. I loved them and they came with a pouch that had velcro. Very easy to use. Bought them at Walmart. There called Thermi Paq Clay Therapy. They get cold in 30 minutes. Good luck!!!
 

yesyvonne

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@in kneed, I got a used ice machine from a neighbor who had posted it to the NextDoor listserve, for $25. Then I found out the hospital uses them and sends each patient home with her very own new one as a souvenir, to use post-op at home. And Medicare paid for that one. So I ended up with two. Didn't use the older one at all but used the hospital-provided one a LOT. Hours daily and also overnight the first several nights, even with my leg in a continuous passive motion machine overnight, too. I was very glad to have it. Icing lasts way longer than using gel packs, which I also have. But with a sufficient number of gel packs, you can rotate them, as @Celle suggests.
 

SusieShoes

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I used gel packs and found they worked really well. A plus for me is that they are easily transportable. I spent weekends visiting various members of the Big Italian Family, so it was really easy for me to ice in the car and also at the other houses, where I could just put them in the freezer ‘til needed.
 

Josephine

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It depends upon the ice pack. The bigger the better and have at least 4 .

gel packs mine.jpg


But a machine is good. I bought one off Ebay though it wasn't a powered one. It was gravity fed from the bucket when necessary so I could get at least 3 refills from it. I made ice to go in it by filling plastic picnic cups and freezing them.

There are more mentioned in here Ice to control pain and swelling
 

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nuttybrunette

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I have both:) I used the ice machine and left it on for long stretches at a time. Like another said, all night the first few nights. But I like the gel ice packs, too. Depends on my mood I guess. Sometimes I want to chill it for a good long time and elevate, like for a whole movie's length. Then other times I want a colder quick chill, more like for a quick half hour sitcom and use the ice packs. So maybe my mood depended on what I was watching on TV..... Anyway, I think both serve their purpose.
 

KarriB

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I used an ice machine at first, but then moved to packs later in my recovery because they were just more convenient. My PTs has huge gel packs that can be found on Amazon. They were wonderful.
 

Wilsomasan

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I had both but the ice machine was my preference. I still use it and I’m 10 wks post-op.
 

celynda

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I came home with a cryocuff after my initial TKA and loved it. The Revision OS didn’t put much emphasis on icing or elevating. Which was odd; so no elevating in hospital and minimal icing. Once home, I used the cryocuff for several weeks. After about a month, I switched to 2# bags of frozen peas. They form to the knee and stay cold for about 45 minutes.
 

SusieShoes

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After about a month, I switched to 2# bags of frozen peas. They form to the knee and stay cold for about 45 minutes.
My mom used frozen peas for both of her knee replacements, and her hip replacement too. My sister used frozen corn. We have interesting family discussions about which frozen veggies make better ice packs. :rotfl: One plus about frozen veggies is they're CHEAP!
 

KarriB

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I made my dad an ice pack fo his THR because other ice packs didn’t mold to his hip very well. There’s a recipe for 1 cup of rubbing alcohol to 2 cups of water. It’s very malleable but you must double bag because chances are it’ll leak.
 

Laurenkate

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Like everyone said, it's a matter of preference but I liked both. The ice machine initially was wonderful - especially at night because I was able to get some sleep using one. Eventually it's a little tiresome and that's when the gel packs come in handy. I bought some big blue ones from Amazon (can't remember the name) and had two smaller rectangular ones. One obvious hint but i'd sometime forget it in my sleep deprived state....make sure to use the bathroom before getting the machine going. It was annoying to get it all set up, have the pack held in place by an ace bandage and then have to take everything off to go to the bathroom.
 

HappyCatTX

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My hospital provided me with an ice machine after my first TKR and it works great!!! Works great because you fill the machine with ice and water and it will run or last for 24 hours. No need to keep going back to the freezer for more ice cubes, frozen peas, change ice packs, etc. You can even regulate the flow or amount of cool/iced water circulating into the bladder (sort of an ice pad that connects through a hose/tubing to the ice machine). I found this a real plus.
 
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in kneed

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I just spoke with my surgeon’s office. I asked about an ice machine and they don’t provide one. They suggest I buy a gel pack that can be frozen. My question for all of you:
Should I invest in the electric ice machine or I purchase a refreezable gel pack?
I’m happy to report that my brother still had his ice machine from his TKR and lent it to me! Check that off my list!
 

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