42 Technology (42T) has developed a low cost, fully-automated and portable ice generator concept that could help cryotherapy become a routine treatment for anyone recovering from a sports injury or after major orthopaedic surgery, such as hip or knee replacement.
42 Technology speeds sports injury recovery with cryotherapy breakthrough
42T is now actively looking for commercial partners to help bring this breakthrough performance product to market.
Ice therapy (or cryotherapy) – where an injured area is ‘compressed and iced’ for 20 minute periods over a number of days – is one of the most effective ways to reduce pain, swelling and accelerate the healing process. The treatment can cut hospital stays by 20% or more but is rarely prescribed or used within surgical wards because the current generation of machines are so expensive, cumbersome and labour intensive. They tend to rely on buckets of ice and vacuum flasks and with no automated time control almost always need a nurse on standby to ensure the injured area is not iced for too long, resulting in further bleeding, swelling and even frostbite. As a result, the treatment tends to be limited to football players and other sportspeople [see image].
42T has developed a design for a high performance, self-contained unit that would require virtually no training and minimal operator intervention during use. The unit uses low cost, high efficiency refrigeration technology to create pumpable ice crystals on demand – a technology originally developed by 42T for use in the brewing industry - while at the same time inflating the compression cuff surrounding the injured area. The ice slurry is pumped into the cuff, re-circulated back to the unit to form more ice crystals as required and after 20 minutes the unit automatically infuses the cuff with warmed water to return the treated region back to normal body temperature. The system cycles between icing and warming for the prescribed course which allows treatment to be maintained through the night as the patient sleeps.
“Ice therapy has been shown time and again to shorten recovery times and reduce hospital stays but is rarely used because of difficulties with current machines. Our small footprint unit has been specifically designed to address a major market opportunity and help hospitals fully exploit the benefits of low cost cryotherapy treatment. 42 Technology’s system is fully portable and can be pre-programmed to deliver a set number of cycles allowing patients to be discharged even earlier from hospital to complete their therapy at home,” said Dave Wilson, director at 42T.
Ice therapy substantially limits the extent of damage caused from an acute sports injury or immediately after orthopaedic surgery through vasoconstriction which reduces blood flow and the amount of bleeding into the injured region. It also reduces pain, muscle spasm and lowers the rate of metabolism to prevent further cell death. Simultaneously compressing the treated area also helps accelerate healing and rehabilitation by preventing excessive swelling and slowing the inflammatory process.
The 42 Technology team of industry experienced physicists, engineers, industrial designers and analysts is expert at conceiving and developing novel products for efficient manufacture.