The evaluation for a patient considering a joint replacement is the same process for any medical treatment. You take a history, you talk to the patient, you exam the patient, and lastly look at the xrays. There are lots of patients with bad or arthritic hips or knees. A lot of those don’t need surgery at the time. And you need to go through all the nonoperative treatments, injection therapy is very convenient for the knees and can prolong surgery for years. Weight loss, physical therapy, all of the things we need to do to people to prepare them to optimize them to be in that best place when the time comes for surgery.
When a patient reaches a point of requiring surgical intervention we need to sit down and discuss what their options are. In the knee there are partial knees or full knee replacements, in the hip big discussions on minimally invasive surgery. And what the patient has to understand is the most important process here…the most important aspect of this is the predictability of the procedure. The patient should know all the risks, all the benefits.
When a patient is going to undergo a hip or knee replacement here at UPMC we will put them through an educational process that will enable them to be familiar with what they are going through. We will encourage a class for them and their families so they will know what to expect preoperative, after surgery and the first couple of days. They will have been to class, they will have met the therapist or they’ll know some of the nurses, and hopefully this collaborative plan will make it a more pleasant, predictable procedure for the patient.
The number of patients undergoing joint replacement is increasing dramatically over the past several years. Healthy patients who plan on continuing activity; plan on continuing skiing; plan on continuing to ride bikes. And they’re getting these done at an increasing rate. And the age of the population is dropping also so people are younger; they’re more functional…active A patient should consider coming to UPMC for a hip or knee replacement surgery because this is truly what we do. topics, blood usage and joint replacement surgery, the effect of early therapy on it and many, many others. This is a system that encourages innovation, it’s a system that provides a comprehensive care that focuses to get the patient back to their life and back to their activities.