Systematic review and meta-analysis of the efficacy of hilotherapy following oral and maxillofacial surgery

A. S. Bates* (Corresponding Author), G. J. Knepil

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Craniofacial surgery causes immediate postoperative pain, oedema, and functional limitations. Hilotherapy delivers cooled water to the face at 15°C and may reduce the postoperative recovery time. This work presents a meta-analysis of short-term postoperative outcomes after hilotherapy. Following a systematic literature search, comparative trials of patients undergoing surgical interventions in the maxillofacial region and receiving either hilotherapy or ice-cooling therapy were included for meta-analysis. Demographics and surgical outcomes were extracted. Data were analysed using Comprehensive Meta-Analysis software. Mean (SEM) data were calculated for demographic variables and standardized mean differences with the 95% confidence interval for surgical outcomes. Five trials were analysed, providing 206 patients for evaluation; mean patient age was 29.4 (9.4) years. Hilotherapy reduced pain (10-point visual analogue scale) at 48 h (P<0.010) and 72 h (P<0.050), as well as postoperative facial oedema (P<0.010), compared to ice-cooling treatment. Trismus and facial neurological scores were also improved (P=0.08). Patients preferred hilotherapy to other cooling methods (P<0.010). Hilotherapy appears to be effective in reducing postoperative facial pain, oedema, and trismus, and in improving patient-reported outcomes. Well-designed randomized controlled clinical trials are required to clarify the procedure-specific efficacy of postoperative hilotherapy and optimal durations of treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110-117
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Issue number1
Early online date9 Sep 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016


  • Cryotherapy/methods
  • Edema/etiology
  • Facial Pain/etiology
  • Humans
  • Oral Surgical Procedures
  • Pain Management/methods
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pain, Postoperative/etiology
  • Postoperative Complications/etiology


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