Joint Replacement Surgery Has Come a Long Way

Significant advancements have been made in joint replacement since it became available on a widespread basis in the mid-seventies. John Conner, MD, is an orthopedic surgeon with a great deal of experience in knee and hip joint replacement. As he explained, “Improvements in surgical techniques and the materials used in the artificial joints are making surgery easier on patients, and the prostheses longer lasting.”
According to Edward E. Bell, MD, who has performed the surgeries for over 20 years, “Our choice of prostheses is often based on the individual’s age and level of activity. Those made of metal alloy and high density polypropylene are used most frequently, but ceramics may be the better choice if the joint must stand up to a very high level of activity.”

“Just 20 years ago,” said Dr. Bell, “patients stayed in the hospital as long as two weeks. Now, they usually stay just three days. After that, they go home or to a rehab facility, depending on their individual situation.” He added, “The pre-operative care and information patients receive has improved their knowledge and expectations from the surgery. The excellent postoperative care by the nursing staff and therapists at Baptist Health Floyd greatly enhances the patient’s outcome.”

Pre-op Education Program for Total Joint Patients Ensures Comfort and Success

Beginning in January 2009, a pre-op education program will be offered to all total joint replacement patients. The program, which will be held on Tuesday mornings, will be scheduled through the surgeon’s office and will include information on pre-anesthesia testing, the surgery itself, a tour of the Surgical Inpatient Unit, physical therapy and recovery. Each patient is encouraged to bring along a family member or friend to learn about the procedure and how to provide motivational coaching during rehabilitation.

As Dr. Bell explains, “The nurses who care for these patients have advanced training in caring for joint replacement patients. Physical therapists start working with the patients right away. And, excellent discharge planning helps get them home or to a rehab facility smoothly and successfully.”

For more information on Baptist Health Floyd’s physical therapy program, call 812-948-7416.