Rapid Recovery Joint Replacement Surgery began with a vision to strive towards performing the ideal joint replacement.Hip and knee joint replacement surgery was one of the great medical advances of the 20th century. Many great surgeons and scientists have contributed to its development over the past few decades. This has seen the continuous development of techniques, surgical equipment and implant technology. Today over 69,000 patients annually receive a primary total hip or total knee replacement in Australia. Although this brings significant improvement to many people’s quality of life, a joint replacement remains a very invasive operation traditionally associated with significant perioperative pain and often a prolonged and difficult post-operative rehabilitation period. Rapid Recovery Joint Replacement Surgery utilises a new surgical technique to address this, and thereby minimise patients’ pain and discomfort following joint replacement surgery while getting them back on their feet and restoring their level of function in the shortest time possible.
This new technique aims to accelerate all aspects of a patient’s recovery process. This includes accelerating their physical, mental and physiological recovery following surgery. Physical recovery includes restoring a patient’s level of function, strength and range of movement. Mental recovery includes the elimination of concerns, and the return of self-confidence and the state of feeling balanced and whole. Physiological recovery takes all the major body systems into account and aims to avoid insult on the cardiovascular, respiratory, renal and haematological systems during your surgery.
One of the main factors impeding recovery following joint replacement surgery using traditional techniques is pain. There are a variety of different types of nerve fibres in our bodies. After repeated stimulation or with damaged nerve fibres, as occurs during and after surgery, certain pain fibres experience a general increase in excitability. The pain fibres then cause a central sensitisation of the nerves in your spinal cord in response to this hyperactivity. Certain chemical changes then take place that result in a pain wind-up phenomenon. This is a similar process experienced by patients who suffer from chronic pain. The aim therefore becomes to switch off the pain intra-operatively before it starts. This is the basis of this new technique that is resulting in many positive benefits for patients.
The benefits achieved with this new technique are:
- Avoids the use of customary post-operative opiate analgesics and their side effects.
- Removes the need for PCA opioids, nerve blocks and epidurals.
- Earlier mobilisation and faster rehabilitation.
- Most total hip replacement and total knee replacement patients are ready to start walking 4-5 hours post-operatively.
- Doesn’t tie the patient down (no drain, no intravenous lines after 8 hours, no catheter, no oxygen requirements, no painbuster/PCAS required).
- Shorter length of hospital stay.
- Most patients are ready to be discharged home within 24 hours of their surgery. (National average is 8 days in hospital).
- Greater active flexion maintained throughout the first month.
- Superior quadriceps recovery in the early stages.
- Rapid mobilisation and discharge results in reduced rates of post-operative complications (including blood clots, wound infections, chest infections, thrombophlebitis, delirium, nausea...).
- Better control of pain by switching off the pain fibres intra-operatively, prior to the onset of the painful stimulus, rather than attempting this once the pain has established.
- Significant reduction in pain.
- Patients report superior post-operative pain scores.
- A significantly more comfortable experience for patients.
- Elimination of mental scar associated with undergoing joint replacement surgery.
- Overall superior patient satisfaction.
- A technique that all patients can benefit from.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. The information provided here is for general educational purposes only. Please contact Mr George Bousounis to find out if rapid recovery joint surgery is appropriate for your individual situation.