Same-day joint replacement is now being performed on patients in North Texas.
The surgery uses advances in less invasive procedures and pain management, allowing patients to begin rehabilitation within hours after the procedure with minimal discomfort. After additional therapy the day after surgery, patients can usually discharge home that afternoon.
Dr. John Barrington, director of the joint replacement program at Baylor Scott and White Frisco, says patients can walk within an hour or two of their surgery and then go home in less than 24 hours, compared to a typical four-day hospital stay.
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"What we do here is very special," Barrington said.
The simple joys had become too painful for one of his patients, Ken Licker, of Plano, prior to his hip replacement.
"It was a chore to go to the mail box. I mean, it was like, 'I don't want to go, I don't want to go because it's too far,'" Licker said.
Licker consulted with Barrington and learned he'd be a good candidate for same-day hip replacement surgery.
"No matter good the hospital is, it's not like being at home," said Licker, whose procedure was successful.
Licker was back home and back on his feet, able to keep up with his grandchildren, in no time.
"Whatever it may be, I can do it and that's huge. That's amazing," he said.
This concept is new, and orthopedic surgeons are still clarifying how to maximize the benefits of this idea for patients, according to the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons.
Barrington said the success of the surgery depends on the team inside the operating room.
"The patients really find that the experience is one that flows smoothly. If I do a fine job, many of them forget that they even had a joint replaced," Barrington said.
"What we've learned in the past decade is that the patient experience has become the most important factor in the quality of how we take care of people," he added.
According to Baylor Scott and White Frisco, many patients qualify for one-day joint replacement discharge, including those who are overall in good health, have a healthy body mass, have a support person to help at home, take a pre-operative training class, review educational materials and have discussed one-day joint replacement discharge with their surgeon.
The American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons says the advantages of the procedure include a reduced hospital stay, a possible reduced chance for hospital acquired infections and the possibility of increased patient satisfaction.
There is also potential for reduced cost to the health care system.
The association says the disadvantages include the chance of having a complication at home, having difficulty with pain management and the chance for readmission to the hospital.