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Orthopedic Surgery: A Brave New World

  • Category: Arthritis, Hip, Knee
  • Posted On:
  • Written 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 normal lifestyle.

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.