The Secret to Same-Day Discharge After Joint Replacement
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Some people may be anxious about having surgery during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we’re taking steps to keep procedures safe, and many operations don’t require an extended stay in the hospital. For example, Dr. Mohamad Jamal Halawi, chief quality officer for musculoskeletal services at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center, can conduct same-day joint replacements for most patients. Here’s how he’s able to do it.
An Orthopedic Surgeon Who Gets to Know His Patients
Dr. Halawi’s secret to successful knee or hip replacements begins with building a positive relationship with his patients and extensively preparing them for their operation. In addition, he gives clear expectations for the recovery process and tries to learn everything he can about them to prevent potential issues from occurring during or after their surgery.
“It is important to resist the tunnel vision where one looks only at the hip or the knee. Rather, I am interested in the whole patient. What is their social support system like? What medical problems do they have? We want the best possible outcomes for patients and the optimization process starts from day one,” states Halawi.
Importance of Exercise and Caregiving After Orthopedic Surgery
Before surgery, Dr. Halawi ensures joint-replacement candidates understand the importance of exercising during recovery and has them begin exercises before their operation. As a result, they rarely need to attend physical therapy, and this reduces the number of times they have to get out during COVID-19.
Caregivers are also involved in the process, so patients have the support they need for a quick recovery. “While most patients are able to independently care for themselves, teaming up with caregivers can help further improve their recovery,” he explains.
Hip and Knee Replacement Recovery Without Opioids
Many patients are concerned about dealing with pain after their surgery. Fortunately, the majority of people will not require opioids and can manage postsurgical pain with over-the-counter medications. This is made possible due to perioperative advancements such as minimally invasive surgery and more targeted anesthesia techniques.
“It is a powerful experience when a patient wakes up after surgery not having any pain. We are now able to stand ahead of the pain and avoid having to catch up like we used to do in the past,” says Halawi.
Answering Joint Replacement Questions After Procedures
Finally, Dr. Halawi adds that putting patients at ease after surgery is an important part of the healing and recovery process.
“What used to take us days to achieve, now we can achieve in literally an hour or two after patients wake up from anesthesia,” Halawi continues. “When you talk about a situation like the COVID-19 pandemic, where patients may be anxious and understandably so, providing the option to recover safely and effectively from the comfort of one’s home is important as delaying surgery will only prolong pain and reduced function.”
Everyone is different, so there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to joint replacements. If you’re experiencing hip or knee discomfort, don’t wait. Make an appointment with your St. Luke’s Health orthopedic specialist, and we’ll develop a personalized treatment plan to help you get back in motion.
Baylor College of Medicine | A recipe for successful same-day hip and knee replacements