Swift fix for hips, knees
Many joint replacement patients go home less than a day after surgery
BY AMBER SMITH
Orthopedic surgeons at Upstate offer one-day total knee and total hip replacement options called “Swift Knee” and “Swift Hip” for people who are relatively healthy and motivated to recover quickly.
Many patients who undergo standard hip or knee replacement surgery are hospitalized overnight, and in the not-so-distant past a two- to three-day stay was the norm. However, Timothy Damron, MD, says “outpatient total joint replacement surgeries are increasingly becoming the new normal for our total joint population.” Damron is vice chair at Upstate Orthopedics and one of three total-joint surgeons, including Robert Sherman, MD, and Emil Azer, MD.
“When I started in training, we actually admitted the patients the night before and kept them in the hospital about a week or so. Now patients are going home the next morning and sometimes the same day following surgery,” Damron says. “Trends have changed drastically over the time I’ve been in practice.”
He says patients who spend fewer days in the hospital are less likely to develop complications, such as infections. “The shorter time that they spend in the hospital, the better the outcome.”
Pain management and physical therapy are important aspects of the Swift total joint procedures. Close collaboration with the anesthesiology team has led to improvements in postoperative pain control, Damron says. Preoperative physical therapy is an integral part of the Swift Knee program in particular, given the importance of range of motion exercises after total knees.
Here’s how to explore your options:
- Find out if you are a candidate for a Swift Knee or Swift Hip operation by making an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon. (Call 315-464-4472.) Read about what you can expect during and after surgery. Attend a joint-replacement class.
- Designate a friend or family member who will help you as you prepare for surgery as well as after the operation.
- Talk with your orthopedic nurse navigator about your individual care plan. Schedule the date and time of your surgery and complete any pretests, which may include blood work and/or medical imaging.
- Prepare for rehabilitation. Particularly for total knees, “pre-hab” will mean one to three physical therapy appointments before your surgery.
- At your pre-hab visits, you will review exercises, devices you’ll use after surgery and how to prepare your home to make rehab and recovery easier. You’ll also schedule your postoperative appointments.
- Choose pull-on pants and secure, comfortable walking shoes to wear the day of your surgery. Leave all electronic devices and jewelry (including wedding rings) at home or with the friend or family member who accompanies you to the hospital.
- Meet with your surgeon, anesthesia team and surgery staff after you are admitted for your operation. The anesthesiologist will talk about options for anesthesia and postoperative medication.
- Know that you may feel pain or discomfort while in the recovery area after surgery — and your care team will help manage the pain.
- You’ll also have an X-ray, and a physical therapist will begin rehab, to help improve mobility. Once you can safely navigate stairs, perform your exercises and bathe and dress yourself, you’ll be eligible for discharge. The goal is to go home the same day.
- Plan on seeing your doctor for a follow-up visit, to make sure your recovery is on track.