Joint Replacement Changes LivesSponsored Story
SAN ANGELO, TX — Body parts wear out as we age, that is a simple fact of life. Active people, however, are not willing to accept limited mobility. If something is broken, they want it fixed.
Fortunately, today we can do that. Total knee and hip replacement surgery now is common, and almost all patients recover quickly and return to an active life.
There have been significant advances in surgery procedures and replacement devices, including robot-assisted surgery for total hip and partial knee replacement. We routinely perform these surgeries at San Angelo Community Medical Center with results as good as or better than those performed in larger communities.
Advances in physical therapy after surgery are equally important and make replacement surgery even more attractive here at home.
Patients who enjoy the best outcomes work at rehabilitation, especially during the six weeks following surgery.
The Community Joint Center at San Angelo Community Medical Center employs a fast-track patient care philosophy that has proved very successful.
Because orthopedic patients after surgery cope with limited motion and pain, not illness, the Center’s staff strives to create an atmosphere that inspires patients to begin rehab as quickly as possible.
Pain management is key. Anesthesiologists treating Community Joint Center patients control pain without interfering with muscle function. This is a major breakthrough.
What to expect with knee replacement surgery
- For most people, knee replacement relieves pain and improves mobility and quality of life.
- Most knee replacements last more than 15 years, longer if you follow guidelines.
- You generally resume most daily activities three to six weeks after surgery.
- Driving may be possible at three weeks if you are not taking narcotic pain medicine and can bend your knee far enough to sit in a car and have muscle control to operate the brakes and the accelerator.
- After recovery, you can engage in various low-impact activities, such as walking, swimming, golfing or biking. Avoid higher impact activities—jogging, skiing, tennis and sports that involve contact or jumping.
- Talk to your doctor about your limitations.
Reducing pain allows staff to begin therapy one to two hours after patients move into their room in the Center. The sooner therapy begins, the sooner patients are on their feet, minimizing risks for complications such as blood clots.
Minimizing the inflammatory response associated with pain also helps patients regain a full range of motion sooner.
Flexion is the bending motion necessary for everyday activities. The Center’s goal is for patients to have 100 degrees of flexion by their discharge day.
We often are way ahead of that curve. Many patients achieve 90 degrees flexion on day one. With the old approach, therapists reported seeing people in outpatient rehab, weeks after surgery, whose flexion was between 45 degrees to 60 degrees.
Quick post-operative progress can be attributed, in part, to serious physical therapy conducted in a light-hearted, patient-centered atmosphere. Wearing their own clothes, not hospital gowns, patients participate in group therapy twice a day. Each patient is accompanied by a coach, who is a family member or trained volunteer.
Studies show social interaction increases movement and decreases pain. The patients also have two one-on-one sessions with their therapist daily.
The system has been in place for five years, and the results are very satisfying, surpassing national norms. Patients are on their feet and moving in a short amount of time—which is the program’s central goal.
Active seniors want to charge back into life. Community Joint Center helps them do that.
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