The manufacturers and orthopedic surgeons who sell the Breg Polar Care (also known as cold therapy, ice therapy, or cryotherapy) claim it will improve recovery and healing by delivering hours of ice-cold temperatures to injured body parts. Unfortunately, patients may fail to realize that they are at risk of severe skin and nerve damage, frostbite, and disfiguring tissue damage that may require reconstructive surgery or skin grafts.
UPDATE: $12.5 Million in Breg Polar Care Lawsuit
In August 2012, plaintiff Whitney Engler was awarded $5 million in compensation and $7.5 million in punitive damages for her Breg Polar Care lawsuit. Engler alleged that Dr. David Chao and Breg Inc. were negligent for failing to warn about the danger of using the Breg Polar Care 500. After using the device for hours on her injured leg, she suffered disfiguring scarring and nerve damage. She has required multiple reconstructive surgeries, and still suffers from permanent injuries. Click here to read more.
What is the Breg Polar Care Cold Therapy Machine?
Brec Inc. manufactures the Breg Polar Care, a cold therapy machine (“cryotherapy” or “ice therapy”) that is marketed to people who have recently undergone surgery — mostly orthopedic surgery for sport injuries in the joints, like the shoulder, knee, and ankle. Breg claims that the Polar Care machine is superior to traditional ice-packs because it delivers hours of ice-cold temperatures to an injured body part, which allegedly improves healing and recovery time.
Breg Polar Care cold therapy machines are designed with a chest filled with ice. As the ice melts, a motor pumps the freezing-cold water into a hose, which is attached to a compression pad. Patients are instructed to wrap their injured body part inside the compression pad and deliver hours of cold temperatures.
Breg Polar Care cold therapy machines include:
- Breg Polar Care 500
- Breg Polar Care 300
- Breg Kodiak Cold Therapy
- Breg Cube Cold Therapy
- Breg Polar Care Glacier
- Breg Polar Care Cub
Problem With Breg Polar Care Machines
The biggest problem with Breg Polar Care cold therapy machines is it is a “do-it-yourself” treatment that lacks adequate warnings about the potential dangers of exposing skin to cold temperatures for a long period of time. Injuries are inherently painful, and patients may fail to realize that the pain they are feeling is actually due to skin and nerve damage from the Breg Polar Care.
In other cases, patients may be completely numb, and only realize that frostbite has occurred after they remove the compression pad. Furthermore, patients may fail to realize that serious skin and nerve damage can occur at temperatures that are above freezing.
Breg Polar Care Injuries and Complications
- Skin damage
- Skin necrosis
- Nerve damage
- Tissue necrosis (death)
- Permanent numbness, tingling, desensitization, or pain
- Circulatory problems to damaged skin
- Need for additional surgery, reconstructive surgery, or skin grafts
- Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) Syndrome
- Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)
- Permanent scarring or disfigurement
- Amputation of the limb