The next morning, he walked without a crutch or a cane up and down the hall in front of his caregivers. Harris said he felt so good that he “held back” a bit while his caregivers were watching. “I didn’t want them to think I was going to overdo it” once he was discharged, Harris
The next morning, he walked without a crutch or a cane up and down the hall in front of his caregivers. Harris said he felt so good that he “held back” a bit while his caregivers were watching. “I didn’t want them to think I was going to overdo it” once he was discharged, Harris explained. “But the reality was, I was walking fine.”
Harris’ struggles with crippling pain began with a work accident three decades ago that smashed one of his ankles and led to a cascade of orthopaedic problems, including the bad hip that Rajaee replaced in June.
Rajaee, an assistant professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, said the number of people needing hip and knee replacements or reconstructions is rising rapidly as the population ages and more people stay active as they grow older. “In general, what we’re talking about are the conditions of hip arthritis and knee arthritis,” he said. “Their joints are wearing down.”
While the numbers of candidates for joint replacements have swelled in recent years, surgical techniques have improved. Surgeons have developed ways to avoid cutting muscle and to reduce damage to other soft tissue while also minimizing blood loss. Digital radiography, or imaging, techniques that were pioneered at Cedars-Sinai have brought added precision to the operations.
Perhaps most importantly, anesthesiologists have moved away from general anesthesia to more targeted regional anesthesia, so that only a limited part of the body is numbed.
Previously, “It was often the general anesthesia that kept patients in the hospital for additional days after surgery,” Penenberg said, pointing to temporary side effects such as low blood pressure, dizziness and nausea. Regional anesthesia’s side effects are milder and shorter-lasting, enabling patients to get back on their feet more quickly.
Recent studies, including a June paper by New York University’s Langone Orthopedic Hospital researchers, have found that surgeries with same-day discharges achieve results that are as good, or even better, than traditional operations.
Nonhospital surgical centers in some cases have been quicker to seize the opportunity to perform these surgeries on a same-day basis.