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

15 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 Sept 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016

Bibliographical note

The authors would like to thank Chris Foy MSc (Medical Statistics), Chartered Medical Statistician, Gloucestershire Research Support Service and South West UK Research Design Service, Leadon House, Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, Gloucester for his help in reviewing the statistical methods employed in this analysis.


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


Dive into the research topics of 'Systematic review and meta-analysis of the efficacy of hilotherapy following oral and maxillofacial surgery'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this