Walking Home the same day after hip replacement surgery is now Possible

DUBAI: Hip joint damage can disrupt everyday activities like walking and sitting, leaving normally-active people in pain and immobilized. Hip replacement surgery offers hope to many, and currently the procedure can be performed in a day, with patients going home the very same day.

Paul Price was admitted to Medcare Orthopaedic and Spine Hospital on the morning of Dec.4. He was taken to the operating room the same day, where Orthopaedic Surgeon Dr Chris Whately inserted a new ball-and-socket hip prosthesis into his left hip. By 2pm the same day, Price walked with a walker out of his hospital room, along a hallway and successfully negotiated a few stairs. By late afternoon he graduated to using crutches. He had supper at the hospital and went home to his family by 8pm on the same day.

For many, a hip or knee replacement means a lengthy recovery, and involves a number of days in the hospital followed by weeks of rehab and physiotherapy. 

Medical experts are currently helping patients with “Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) protocols”, a modern evidence-based approach that helps people recover more quickly after having major surgery. There are several reasons making short hospital stays possible after joint replacement surgeries, including less invasive techniques, better anaesthesia, improved pain management strategies and better physical therapy.

“Having an operation can be both physically and emotionally stressful. Enhanced recovery programmes aim to get you back to full health as quickly as possible. At Medcare, we are now performing some of the most advanced techniques for musculoskeletal surgical procedures in the region. 

“These include LIA (Local Infiltration Anaesthesia) where freezing is applied to the operative area before and after surgery to enable patients to wake up after their operations with little or no pain. We are using ‘intraperative cell savers’ to collect the patient’s own blood and return it to the patient at the time of surgery. This eliminates the need for blood transfusions and minimises the chance for infection,” explained Dr Chris Whately.

“To help patients set and meet their recovery goals, my team works closely with them, before and after they have surgery. We make sure that patients know what to realistically expect immediately after surgery, measures to be adopted in the following weeks and months, and how best to prepare their homes and loved ones for their recovery.” added Dr Whately.

During hip replacement, a surgeon removes the damaged sections of the hip joint and replaces them with an artificial joint (prosthesis) that helps reduce pain and improve function. Also called “total hip arthroplasty”, hip replacement surgery may be an option for a person, if hip pain interferes with daily activities and more conservative treatments haven’t helped. 

“Hip resurfacing procedures for more active younger patients are also an excellent option where a more bone preserving procedure can be performed. Arthritis damage is the most common reason to need hip replacement or resurfacing.

“Common patient apprehensions regarding pain control and becoming dependent on others have been addressed and optimised.”