Dr. John Dundon at The Orthopedic Institute of New Jersey spoke with NJ.com to discuss how lengthy hospital stays after total joint replacement surgery might be a thing of the past. Here is the original article from NJ.com.
Surgery today, home tonight: How far total joint replacement has come.
Imagine having an artificial hip surgically implanted in your body and then walking out of the hospital later that day. It’s hard to fathom. Yet some orthopedic physicians are now offering same-day total joint replacement for the hip and knee. Dr. John Dundon recently spoke with NJ Advance Media about the ever-progressing ﬁeld of total joint replacement and the many beneﬁts to patients.
Q: Is it possible to replace a knee or hip and have a patient walk that same day?
A: I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s not only possible, it’s beneficial. In the past, patients would stay overnight in a hospital and could remain immobilized for days after a total joint replacement surgery. Recently, there’s been somewhat of a philosophy shift and we’ve seen the many benefits of getting patients mobilized immediately after a procedure. Of course, we use numbing agents so that patients aren’t feeling pain and can begin their accelerated recovery process right away. Becoming mobilized quickly after surgery also helps lower the risk of blood clots post-operatively.
Q: What are the main beneﬁts of same day surgery for patients?
A: Cost is one of the main benefits. With many insurance plans, patients are responsible for a portion of the cost. Take a full night in the hospital out of the equation and you’re looking at a significantly lower bill. Another beneﬁt is that the patient is home and comfortable in their own bed that same night. Not only do patients have more control over their own recovery but they aren’t exposed to any infectious agents that could potentially be found in hospitals.
Q: Is everyone eligible for same-day total joint replacement?
A: Unfortunately, not every patient is a proper candidate for same-day total joint replacement. When screening candidates, we’re looking for patients to be fairly active and independent. Motivation also goes along way—we love seeing people who are motivated to recover quickly and get back to an active, healthy lifestyle. Another component that is important is the pre-screening process at a physical therapy clinic that is up-to-date on same-day surgical procedures. Patients who may be good candidates for same-day surgeries can come to Northern Physical Therapy, where we’ll conduct a series of tests and screenings.
Q: What tests can patients expect during pre-operative physical therapy?
A: The physical therapists at Northern Physical Therapy will conduct balance screenings, functional tests and even evaluate the patient’s home environment to ensure their recovery will be ideal. They will also perform some strength testing and gait training to make sure there are no issues that could complicate the recovery process after the procedure. Finally, the physical therapist will train each patient to walk with a walker and crutches so that they’re properly acclimated post-surgery and are less likely to suffer from a slip or fall, causing a set-back in their recovery process.
Q: Are there reasons someone may not be eligible for a same-day total joint replacement?
A: Factors such as a patient’s age and previous complications will play a role in determining whether they’re a proper candidate. The best way to ﬁnd out if you are eligible is to come in for a free consultation.
Q: When should patients consider a total joint replacement?
A: It’s all about quality of life. If pain, stiffness or tenderness in the knee or hip is affecting daily life, it’s important to come in for a consultation. Our physical therapists are always happy to meet new clients and help evaluate options to improve their quality of life – because no one should have to live in pain.
If you have questions on knee or hip pain, or total joint replacements, contact us today to set up a free consultation. One of our physical therapists will be happy to talk to you and determine the best steps to get you moving in the right direction!
This article was written, in part, by our friends at Ivy Rehab.