New approaches for joint replacements mean faster recovery, better outcomes
Gone are the days when your surgeon’s involvement is limited to only performing surgery. Today when you have a hip or knee replacement, your surgeon is involved in the entire process, from assessing the risk of your personal medical conditions to surgical intervention to rapid recovery protocols.
At Williamson Medical Center, we believe the surgical experience should be performed in the most efficient manner possible, and research data shows this leads to better patient outcomes and satisfaction. That’s why our orthopaedic surgery team is focused on getting you back to your routine as safely and quickly as possible.
Studies show that the rapid recovery protocols used at WMC can decrease complications like blood clots, pneumonia and skin breakdown — all of which are byproducts of slow recovery and poor mobilization. That’s why we focus on getting patients up and moving as quickly as possible. When a patient is confident that they will be moving and using their leg in a short amount
of time, they will return to function more quickly, so we have patients ambulating with physical therapy on the day of surgery — just three to four hours after a hip or knee replacement. And the amazing thing to the patients is learning they can do it.
With the help of an amazing team, WMC is able to push the envelope on shortening procedure times and recovery times. Orthopaedic surgery at Williamson Medical Center is like running an airport. The logistics of success require everyone’s help. It takes more than a pilot to fly a plane and that’s how we work here. Some people clean the plane, gas it up, organize the flight plan and keep the engines running. That’s what it takes here as well. I may be the pilot flying the plane, but the entire staff understands how it all works and we work together with the same goal in mind — patient success.
We are embarking on a cultural shift where joint replacement surgery is a team-based approach. We have known for a long time that you can’t have just any scrub nurse passing you instruments. That person has to do it well, and do it over and over again. This is proven in other areas of medicine such has heart transplant surgery, but the same goes for orthopaedic surgery. You can’t do a 45-minute total hip arthroplasty with people who don’t practice their jobs repetitively with high volume. By minimizing the procedure time and working efficiency, the results are better for our patients, including decreased blood loss and lower rates of infection.
Another way we speed patient recovery following joint replacement is our approach to pain management. We’ve learned that narcotics alone aren’t the best way to deal with pain, as they carry complications like constipation, lethargy, confusion, urinary retention and dependence — all of which end up inhibiting the patient more than helping them.
We use a multi-modal approach to pain control by stopping pain at multiple points. We give the patient an anti-inflammatory non-narcotic pain medication, local anesthetics and some narcotics when needed, but we try to avoid narcotic pain meds. The anesthesiology team also works closely with the surgeons to develop the best protocols possible to optimize patient comfort.
Even with minimal narcotics, our patients experience excellent pain control and overall satisfaction during their post-operative period. By minimizing narcotic use, we minimize narcotic side effects, enabling our patients to be more functional after surgery.
If we can provide a service to our patients with minimal pain and minimal disruption in their lives, they are going to continue to come to us. Because of the team we have in place, we are able to do some things differently here that directly benefit the patient.
Many people choose their surgeon and will do what they tell them, but you should also choose your hospital — it’s an important relationship. At Williamson Medical Center, we have good surgeons but we also have a quality hospital with a team dedicated to doing this the right way. We don’t settle.Share this Article