Orthopaedic Surgeon Dr. Gary Stein shares insight about the latest study on optimal strategies for patient recovery following Total Joint Replacement.
A new study presented by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) in March suggests that following joint replacement surgery – the best place for a patient to recover is at home. “We find with our own patients that recovery is expedited when they are in familiar surroundings and have ample opportunity to rest and recover naturally,” says Dr. Gary Stein of Santa Rosa Orthopaedics. “Along with advancements in surgical techniques that make surgeries less invasive is the availability of out-patient rehabilitation centers. These are just some of the factors that make it much more likely that patients can recover quickly and on their own terms.”
The AAOS study revealed that even patients who live alone recovered safely without any increase in the rate of complications. A total of 769 patients undergoing primary total hip replacement (THR) or total knee replacement (TKR) made up the study and 138 of those patients lived alone. The remaining 631 lived with other people; and patients age 75 and older were included in the study. As many as 80 percent of those living alone reportedly had a friend or relative living nearby who could provide assistance if needed, helping to ensure successful recovery at home.
What is TJR
Total joint replacement is one of the most successful contemporary surgical procedures thanks to refined surgical techniques, improved implant characteristics, aggressive physical rehabilitation and a focus on pain management which have all contributed to the success of TJR.
Total joint replacement surgery, also known as arthroplasty, is performed to repair severe injuries or to replace joints destroyed by arthritis and other bone diseases. It is performed to replace the ends of both bones in a damaged joint to create new joint surfaces. Weight-bearing joints are naturally under the greatest strain and are more likely to lose protective cartilage over time, particularly the hips and knees. Shoulder joints can also develop painful conditions caused by arthritis that may require total joint replacement surgery. Hand and elbow joints also endure daily stress that can damage cartilage and are also subject to bone diseases.
“Cartilage between bones naturally protects them from rubbing together, but as it begins to deteriorate due to wear or aging, bones can grind against each other, resulting in severe pain and swelling,” explains Dr. Stein. “Total joint replacement surgery is designed to alleviate these symptoms and significantly improve the patient’s quality of life at the same time.”
Candidates for TJR
As the number of baby boomers reaching middle age rises in the United States, so does the annual rate of joint replacement surgeries, particularly artificial hip and knee replacements. About 332,000 total hip replacements and 719,000 total knee replacements are performed in the United States each year according to the latest statistics provided by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). The long-term success rates for total hip and total knee surgery continues to rise with the number of surgeries, currently exceeding 95 percent.
Successful surgery, successful recovery equals better quality of life
Total joint replacement is one of the most successful contemporary surgical procedures for both men and women, thanks to refined surgical techniques, improved implant characteristics, aggressive physical rehabilitation and a focus on pain management which have all contributed to the success of TJR.
“If we can include reduced stress due to extended hospital stays with no measurable difference in pain, complications or functional outcomes, patients are naturally happier in the comfort of their own home during recovery. This is just another win-win situation for everyone concerned,” added Dr. Stein. The cost savings for patients who recovered at home according to the review was estimated at $10,776 per patient, or nearly $1.5 million total for all study participants.
SRO provides people in pain with hip, knee, ankle, elbow, and shoulder replacement surgery, as well as state-of-the-art outpatient physical therapy services to make damaged joints healthy again. SRO surgeons and physical therapists care and pride themselves on getting patients back to the activities they love, helping to re-establish independence and restore livelihood.
In its efforts to bring the best outcomes to patients, SRO also offers patients in-house diagnostic imaging, rehabilitation, sports injury prevention, as well as advanced surgical treatments in joint replacement, sports medicine, trauma care, hand, foot, ankle, and general orthopedic surgery. For more information about SRO surgeons, visit srortho.com or call 707.546.1922.