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Is an ice machine worth it?

tehdarwinator

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I have been reading good things about ice machines here and elsewhere. However, I can't find anyplace local to borrow or rent one. I have a TKR coming up in a month and my other knee and one hip are also bone-on-bone and headed for replacement as well. Assuming that I can afford it, would it be worth it for my recoveries to go ahead and purchase an ice machine? I could donate it to my local senior rehab center when I don't need it anymore. Any advice or recommendations would be appreciated!
 

Roy Gardiner

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I found an ice machine quite useful and helpful in the early days. But you can improvise; before I used the machine, I used several bags of frozen peas that I would re-freeze in a rotation. Nice and simple.
 

Sara61

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I think it's down to personal choice and mobility. I mainly use bags of peas, wrapped in a kitchen towel and when defrosted put them back in the freezer ( obvs- I won't use them to eat ) plus I have a couple of gel ice packs. For me walking to and from my kitchen is part of my daily exercises.
 

VSlowLife

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@tehdarwinator On e-bay you can find a used machine with the knee wrap for a much more reasonable price. I bought one for my hip. I bought some 8 oz water bottles to freeze and refreeze for the unit. What I like about it is the consistent length of the cooling, and no wet condensation from anything melting on me.
 

marieltha

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I used an Aircast Cryo Cuff system with a gravity feed cooler for my 3 knee and 1 shoulder surgeries.
If I need more surgery, I will likely get their electric feed cannister top as I could leave the cuff on to refill.
I was sent home with it after the first knee surgery and added the shoulder cuff (betterbraces online).
Good luck!
 

lovetocookandsew

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I used ice packs for my TKR recovery, and an ice machine for my revision. IME, the two were night and day. I would never use ice packs again given a choice; the ice machine was soooooo much better in cooling power, ease of use and length of time before needing to change the ice. The ice packs had to be changed every hour or so, and also slid off my knee constantly, even using them inside a wrap that was supposed to keep them in place. They were also too cold at first so I had to wrap them in multiple layers of cloth, but they began warming quickly so I had to keep unwrapping the layers. Then I would have to remove all the wraps, then would soon need to change out the packs. This all happened in under an hour for each pack on average. I used one layer of cloth under the ice machine wrap, which didn't need to be adjusted, or removed, at all.

The ice machine stayed cold for hours and hours-even all night long, so I only had to change the ice bottles two or three times a day. The trick, as I found it, was, after emptying out the old water each day, to add some water, then add 4 frozen water bottles, then add some ice to bring the water level to the fill line, which meant the water was icy cold from the start and didn't need just the ice bottles to get it cold, which meant they lasted longer. Starting it off cold like that made the entire process more efficient and the frozen water bottles lasted a lot longer, keeping the water quite cold all the time. It only needed a little ice once per day so my ice maker was easily able to keep up.
 

newlybionic

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I used an ice machine. I bought mine on Amazon. It was an electric feed machine. It stayed cold for hours. It was good especially in the early days when I wasn’t up and moving around that much. I switched to ice wraps once I was more mobile since it was easier to handle them.
 
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tehdarwinator

tehdarwinator

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Thank you so much for your feedback! I've used the frozen peas trick in the past, but they seem to slide off and warm up so quickly. If it was just this one surgery, I would probably go that way, along with alcohol ice packs. However, since I will be having three surgeries over the next year and a half (and that doesn't count my severely arthritic shoulder that is still responding to cortisone injections), the investment seems more reasonable. I will only have part-time help during my recovery, so not having to haul myself up after every icing is appealing, at least in the beginning. I'm jealous of everyone who has an icemaker.
 

VSlowLife

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You could check and see if your community has a lending society for medical care equipment. Some communities do.
If you have a local radio station that has a buy and sell hour, you may put out the word you are looking for a used one.
If you google Berg Polar Care Kodak knee, for example, you will find some pre-owned for under $100, with shipping. I cleaned mine and tried it out, and I liked the consistency of the coolness. Hope you find one you like.
 

Catnapper

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I love my Ossur Cold Rush ice machine! I have used homemade alcohol ice packs (rubbing alcohol plus water in ziplock bags) for various injuries over the years, and they work great, and I will continue using them for mild injuries, but nothing beats the ice machine.

For the first few weeks it was an unbelievable help because of the logistics of being able to stay put for hours at a time, and as others have described, not having to deal with constant adjustments to the ice location, wet condensation, etc. For a twenty minute or half hour wrist sprain cool-down, or other minor injury, I wouldn't fool with setting up the machine. But for the long hours of post-surgical recovery, you can't beat it. Also, my surgeon requires that his patients get one (although obviously he has no way to check if they do or not), and made this a requirement after his own knee replacements.

The advantages of the Ossur for me were the quiet pump, how well it's built, and its relatively small size. I have to travel out of town for surgery, and the ice machine fits in my suitcase.
 

InkedMarie

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My ice machine was invaluable to me. I bought the Cryo Cuff motorized version from Source Ortho online. I paid $169. I can’t imagine replacing my other knee without it. I tried an ice pack and peas and prefer the machine.
 

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