Category Archives: Joint Replacement

Can Patients Who Live Alone Be Sent Home Safely After Joint Replacement?

homerecoveryAccording to a recent study published by The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery in partnership with Wolters Kluwer, most patients who live alone can safely be discharged home from the hospital to recover after knee or hip replacement surgery.

This encouraging finding questions the firmly held belief that patients who live on their own should first be sent to an inpatient rehabilitation facility after undergoing joint replacement surgery. “Patients living alone had a safe and manageable recovery when discharged directly home after total joint arthroplasty,” write Andrew N. Fleischman, MD, and colleagues from The Rothman Institute, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia.

The study focused on 769 patients of a similar age demographic who were sent directly home after one-sided total hip or knee replacement; 138 of these patients were living alone for the first two weeks after surgery. The researchers compared complication rates and other important outcomes for patients who lived alone versus those who lived with others.

The researchers did find that patients who lived alone were more likely to spend more than one night in the hospital, had higher rates of in-home nursing care and physical therapy. But otherwise, the outcomes were very similar for patients living alone compared to those who lived with others. In both groups, the post-discharge complication rate was around eight percent. The two groups also had similar rates of “unplanned clinical events,” such as emergency department or urgent care visits. Pain relief and satisfaction scores during recovery were very alike as well.

Perhaps some of the most exciting results: up to six months after surgery, there were no significant differences in scores for joint functioning and quality of life and nearly 90 percent of patients living alone said they would choose to be discharged home directly after surgery again.

Although some patients who live alone can benefit from home health services or even an extra day in the hospital, discharge directly home may be a much more economical and comfortable choice than routinely sending them for inpatient rehabilitation – while also avoiding the believed associated risks.

Dr. Stickney, a Kirkland orthopedic surgeon, is an expert in exercise and healthjoint replacement surgerysports medicine and more. Contact Dr. Stickney and return to your healthy, pain-free lifestyle!

Inpatient Compared to Outpatient Joint Replacement

invsoutWith outpatient (same-day discharge) hip and knee replacement procedures becoming more common, it’s crucial to keep up with the latest research. In a recent article published by Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, Authors Basques, Tetreault and Della Valle conduct a cohort study taking a look at patients who underwent outpatient joint replacement compared to patients who underwent inpatient joint replacement.

The authors researched 177,818 patients who underwent primary elective total hip arthroplasty, total knee arthroplasty or unicompartmental knee arthroplasty from 2005-2014. They found no significant differences in overall postoperative complications or readmission between the inpatient and outpatient procedures, though the study did find that inpatients did have a higher rate of thromboembolic events (blood clots in the legs) and outpatients had a higher rate of reoperation. The researchers also noted that patients with elevated body mass index, (overweight) diabetes and an age over 85 years had an increased risk of readmission rate following outpatient surgery.

In another recent study published by Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, authors Arshi et al. take a look at the nationwide trends and risks associated with outpatient total knee replacement. The study is a retrospective review of patients who had undergone total knee arthroplasty as either inpatients or outpatients from 2007-2015. The data demonstrated a higher risk of perioperative complications including component failure, surgical site infection, knee stiffness and deep vein thrombosis for outpatients.

This research may seem a bit conflicting, but in the end, it highlights the importance of being in good health before considering outpatient joint replacement surgery. Outpatient joint replacement can be a very successful, cost-saving option, but your orthopedic surgeon should only recommend it if you meet certain health requirements. We work with our patients through all stages of joint replacement to ensure they enjoy a quick, pain-free procedure and recovery and can get back to their healthy lifestyle as soon as possible.

Dr. Stickney, a Kirkland orthopedic surgeon, is an expert in joint replacement surgerysports medicine and more. Contact Dr. Stickney and return to your healthy, pain-free lifestyle!

How The SwiftPath Method is Changing Joint Replacement

Joint replacement patients need surgical options that reduce pain, reduce the need for narcotics and speed recovery more than ever. Even patients with severe debilitating arthritis are often afraid of joint replacement — and what they fear most is the pain of the surgery, complications due to using narcotics and being completely out of commission after surgery. The SwiftPath Method aims to resolve all these issues. 

SwiftPath is a protocol-driven company that is constantly striving to discover advanced surgical techniques in joint replacement. Their goal is to collaborate with top surgeons in driving improvements for outpatient and enhanced recovery joint replacements. Over the past two years, the SwiftPath Program has been used in thousands of joint replacements performed across the country. The program is so effective, that many patients can be discharged directly to home with no use of rehabilitation centers, hotels, or other types of recovery settings.

Where traditional joint replacement methods relied on large incisions, heavy doses of pain medications and months of difficult postoperative therapy, new minimally-invasive techniques have advanced joint replacement surgery, now allowing people to get back to their active, healthy lifestyle faster with reduced postoperative pain and stiffness and no need for narcotics. With patient education and family involvement, The SwiftPath Method creates a working plan customized to each patient to cultivate success with outpatient knee replacement. Non-narcotic pain control, streamlined nursing and physical therapy, online home care monitoring and more help patients achieve rapid rehabilitation. These groundbreaking techniques, and much more, are what set The SwiftPath method apart.

Questions about The SwiftPath Method or joint replacement surgeryDr. Stickney, a Kirkland orthopedic surgeon, is an expert in hip replacement surgerysports medicine and more. Contact Dr. Stickney and return to your healthy, pain-free lifestyle!

Dr. Stickney Leads Hip and Knee Replacement Seminar

bikerideThere’s nothing worse than pain in your hip or knee that keeps you from work, your social life or just getting out of bed in the morning without hurting. At EvergreenHealth’s FREE seminar on Thursday, November 16, explore your treatment options and how advancements in hip and knee replacement can help you get back to a healthy, pain-free life. This informative, in-depth discussion will be led by ProOrtho’s Dr. Jeff Stickney, an orthopedic surgeon.

Learn more and RSVP for this free, educational event here or call the EvergreenHealthline at 425.899.300.
Date: Thursday, November 16, 2017
Time: 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.
Location: EvergreenHealth Medical Center 12333 NE 130th Ln, Kirkland, WA 98034

Dr. Stickney subspecializes in sports medicine and joint reconstruction. He is board certified in orthopedic surgery and specialty board certified in sports medicine. His primary interest is in knee, hip and shoulder issues. His joint replacement practice emphasizes minimally invasive procedures and computer guided navigation in knee replacements. If you or a loved one is suffering from pain that’s getting in the way of an active lifestyle, consult Dr. Stickney today. 

There’s No Place Like Home After Surgery

recovering-at-homeTraditionally, patients and doctors have opted for in-patient rehabilitation after total hip or total knee replacement surgery, despite the high costs. However, recent studies found that after joint replacement surgery, patients who live alone are happier and fare just as well, and possibly better, when recovering at home rather than staying at a rehab facility. 

The study, published by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, examined 769 patients who had undergone primary total hip replacement (THR) or total knee replacement (TKR). About 18% lived alone, all of whom were discharged home for outpatient rehab. Of these, almost 80% had friends or family nearby that could help provide support if necessary. 

Overall, there was no significant difference in complications, pain, functional outcomes, or patient satisfaction scores between people who lived alone and those who lived with others after the surgery. However, when recovering at home instead of spending an extra night at a hospital, patients saved an average of $10,776, amounting to almost $1.5 million total. Patients recovering at home were also found to avoid other complications — such as infections and blood clots — that they might experience in a rehab facility. 

“We found that patients living alone were able to safely recover without any increase in the rate of complications,” said Dr. William J. Hozack, an orthopedic surgeon who presented the study at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. “Even more strikingly, patients were generally happy and content being in the comfort of their own home during recovery.” 

Recent Australian research corroborated these results. To test whether a rehab facility offered more benefits than a home-based program, the research team randomly selected 81 knee replacement patients who received both inpatient rehabilitation and home-based care, and 84 who only received home-based care. There were no differences in pain, function, or quality of life six months after surgery between the groups. 

These studies conclude that given the emotional benefits, the lack of complications, and the cost savings, outpatient recovery can be a beneficial option for total joint replacement patients who live alone. 

Struggling with joint pain? Interested in learning more about your post-surgical options? Dr. Stickney, a Kirkland orthopedic surgeon, specializes in procedures including total knee replacement. Contact his office today.

Staph Infection Heightens Risk of Surgical Complications

staph-infectionInfection after joint replacement surgery is a terrible complication that often results in subsequent surgeries with extended morbidity and rehabilitation. The possibility of infection after joint replacement depends to some degree on the patient’s immune capabilities, with the incidence ranging from 1.5 to-6% over a lifetime.

One of the leading pre-operative risk factors in orthopedic patients is the presence of Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus), or staph, on the skin or nasal cavity. Most postoperative infections after joint replacement are the result of bacteria from the patient’s skin falling into the wound during surgery. In most cases, the immune system is able to eliminate those bacteria, but staph carriers are two to ten times more likely to face infection.

Pre-operative skin washing at home, skin scrubbing in the operating room, and intraoperative surgical irrigation and antibiotics help minimize this risk. Patients with staph chronically growing on their skin are at higher risk due to the aggressive nature of this bacteria and the heightened risk of wound infection. On average, 18-25% of patients will have staph on their skin chronically, and of this group, approximately 11% have a strain resistant to antibiotics.

A recent study done at NYU Langone Medical Center analyzed 13,828 orthopedic patients between 2009 and 2016. In this study, patients were tested preoperatively for the presence of S. aureus, with 18% testing positive for colonization. The researchers also found that 4.35% of the colonized patients developed surgical site infections (SSIs) after surgery while only 2.39% of non-colonized patient’s developed SSIs postoperatively. Specifically, patients who had undergone total knee replacement surgeries were 380% more likely to develop a postoperative infection if the patient was colonized with S. aureus prior to the procedure.

This information points to the importance of understanding who is at higher risk of a post-operative infection. Developing methods to minimize this prior to surgery also helps combat readmission, revision surgery, longer hospital stays, and increased medical bills.

Questions about joint replacement surgery? Concerned about your orthopedic health or interested in taking steps to protect it in the future? Dr. Stickney is a Kirkland orthopedic surgeon who can help find the best surgical and nonsurgical options for you. Contact his office for an appointment today.