ORTHOPEDIC SURGERY: A BRAVE NEW WORLD
By Steven H. Gausewitz, MD
Not too long ago, patients undergoing joint replacement surgery could expect
to stay in the hospital for about two weeks after a lengthy operation
that left them with a foot-long incision. Thanks to many advancements
that have transformed the realm of orthopedic surgery, patients are now
experiencing much quicker recovery times. How is this possible?
Better implant materials used in combination with less invasive surgical
techniques have shortened both the incisions incurred during surgery,
as well as the time patients need to spend in the hospital following their
procedure. In many cases, the length of stay can be as little as one to
three days, but this is strictly dependent on the needs of the patient.
In addition, improved anesthesia options and medical management of pain
help patients recover more quickly and with less discomfort.
Comprehensive patient education before surgery helps families understand
the procedure and what to expect post-operatively. For instance, with
joint replacement, hips generally recover more quickly than the knees.
This pre-operative education helps patients set realistic expectations
on how soon life will return to normal. Rapid-recovery post-operative
rehab has also been instrumental in facilitating a speedy return to a
Clinical advancements in surgical techniques and instrumentation have also
changed the setting in which many orthopedic procedures are performed.
Many knee and shoulder surgeries can now be performed on an outpatient
basis. These include rotator cuff repairs and anterior-cruciate ligament
surgery. We may soon may be performing some spinal procedures on an outpatient
basis, as well. Because Newport Orthopedic Institute (NOI) has just opened
a state-of-the-art surgery center with top of the line equipment and dedicated
anesthesia coverage, many of these procedures can be conducted here in
our building in Newport Beach.